The health overhaul bill passed by the House earlier this month accomplishes one major feat: It is even less popular than the not-very-popular Affordable Care Act it would largely replace, a new poll finds.
According to the monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 49 percent of respondents said they have a favorable view of the ACA, while 31 percent said they favored the GOP’s American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed the House on May 4. (Kaiser Health News, which produces California Healthline, is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)
Seventy-eight percent of Democrats favored Obamacare. But more than two-thirds of Republicans said they support their party’s health plan.
Brian Viola, 35, of Indio, a small desert city in southern California, says any health policy proposal would be better than the Affordable Care Act.
Viola, who voted for President Trump, said the current health law forced many people to lose their doctors, and didn’t save “regular” Americans any money on health care.
“It punished the people that were doing things right, to give to people that already get everything for free,” said Viola, who works as a casino card dealer and pays for part of the health insurance he gets from his employer.
Viola says the proposed American Health Care Act appeals to him because it could lower health care premiums for the “doers,” and because it would remove a tax penalty on individuals who don’t have health insurance.
“You shouldn’t force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do,” Viola said.
The findings track those of other polls conducted since the Republican House passed the bill. A Quinnipiac University poll released May 25 found 20 percent of Americans support the AHCA, compared with 57 percent opposition. A poll from Morning Consult and Politico just after the bill passed found 38 percent supported the GOP measure and 44 percent opposed it.
Unlikely to boost the bill’s popularity is a report last week from the Congressional Budget Office that found after 10 years the legislation would result in 23 million fewer Americans with insurance and could make it harder for those with preexisting conditions to get and keep coverage.
Indeed, the KFF poll found that even Republicans show scant support for a change to some of the health law’s most popular provisions. Fewer than a fifth of Republicans favored changing the provision that limits how much more insurers can charge older people for insurance compared with younger people. And 22 percent of Republicans favored letting insurers charge sick people higher premiums if they have a break in their coverage.
A majority of Republicans supported the bill’s provisions that would allow states to establish work requirements for Medicaid enrollees and set up high-risk insurance pools for people with health problems.
More people said the GOP bill would hurt their personal health care than thought the same about a straight repeal of the ACA when asked about that issue in December.
Forty-five percent said the GOP bill would increase their own and their family’s costs for health care, compared with the December survey that found 28 percent thought that would be the result if the ACA were repealed. More than a third thought the GOP bill would make it harder to get and keep health insurance, compared with 21 percent who thought a repeal would have that consequence. And 34 percent said the GOP bill would likely make the quality of their health care worse, compared with 19 percent who said that about the ACA repeal.
Although about half of the public wants changes in the bill, nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said it was very or somewhat likely that Congress will pass and President Donald Trump will sign a bill to “repeal and replace” the ACA.
The survey of 1,205 adults, conducted May 16-22, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample.
This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. California Healthline Sacramento Correspondent Pauline Bartolone contributed to this report.