Americans are divided over repealing Obamacare
NEW YORK — President-elect Donald Trump is intent on repealing Obamacare, but nearly half of Americans say they aren’t so keen on dismantling the health care reform law.
Some 49% of Americans want Trump and Congress to either expand Obamacare or continue implementing the law as it is, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Thursday.
Another 26% want the entire law repealed, while 17% would like the law scaled back.
Trump and GOP Congressional leaders have said they plan to take up Obamacare’s repeal as soon the incoming president takes office on January 20. They are looking at repealing the law through the budget reconciliation process, which allows Congress to approve measures related to revenue and spending with only a simple majority, rather than 60 votes.
What remains unclear is what would replace Obamacare. Though he vowed on the campaign trail to completely dismantle the health reform law, Trump has since indicated he would keep certain provisions, such as protections for those with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Health Secretary nominee Tom Price also have plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Americans, however, seem to be warming to President Obama’s signature health care law … or at least parts of it.
The share of Americans who want lawmakers to completely repeal the law fell to 26% in the post-election poll, compared to 32% in October. This is the first time since August 2015 that fewer than 30% of the public favored eliminating Obamacare. Notably, the share of Republicans who want to kill the law fell to 52%, down from 69% last month.
Instead, more Americans would like health reform to be scaled back. That share rose to 17%, up from 9%. Among GOP voters, it increased to 24%, up from 11%.
They particularly like allowing children to stay on their parents plan, providing free preventative services such as annual checkups and cholesterol screenings, providing financial help to low- and moderate-income Americans to help them purchase coverage and giving states the option to expand Medicaid.
What they don’t like is the individual mandate that requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine.
Among those who want to see Obamacare repealed, more than four in 10 say lawmakers shouldn’t act until they’ve worked out the details of a replacement plan first. Only 21% approve dismantling the law immediately and figuring out a replacement plan later.
Some 31% want the law repealed and not replaced.
The debate over Obamacare’s future comes as more people are signing up for coverage for 2017.
More than 2.1 million Americans selected plans through healthcare.gov, which services 39 states, between the start of open enrollment on November 1 and November 26, according to new federal data. That’s nearly 100,000 more than in the first four weeks of 2015.
More than 1.6 million Americans are renewing their coverage, while nearly 520,000 are new consumers. Enrollment isn’t final until consumers pay their first month’s premium.
Some states that run their own exchanges are also seeing brisk sign ups. Minnesota reported that more than 30,000 residents enrolled in coverage in the first four weeks. This benchmark was not reached until mid-December last year.
Open enrollment ends on January 31.