Policy

Kaiser Poll Shows Split on Health Law Repeal but Consensus on Costs

Most polled don’t think the changes will affect them personally

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Vice President-elect Mike Pence, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., appear after a Jan. 4 meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol to discuss a strategy to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The American public is split on how Congress should address the future of health care, according to a new poll from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Forty-seven percent of people who were polled don’t think that Congress should repeal the 2010 health care overhaul. Another 28 percent of people responding do want it repealed but want to see a replacement plan before a repeal vote is taken, while 20 percent favor an immediate repeal vote with plan details to be worked out later.

The feelings about the next steps reflect how people view the health law in general, with 46 percent saying they view it unfavorably, compared to 43 percent who have a favorable view. The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll was conducted in the third week of December among 1,204 adults.

Whatever happens, most polled don’t think the changes won’t personally affect them. Fifty-seven percent of respondents think that the quality of their health care will stay the same if Obamacare is repealed, and 55 percent don’t think it will change their ability to obtain insurance.

On cost, about 43 percent say costs will be about the same if Obamacare is repealed, 28 percent think costs will rise and 27 percent think they will decrease.

People who currently have some kind of health condition are more likely to say that their health care will get worse if the law is repealed. Fifty-four percent of households with an individual suffering from a pre-existing condition are worried that they won’t be able to afford services if the law is repealed, and 43 percent worry they will lose their health insurance.

Despite the split over the health care law itself, the poll found that across the political spectrum, 67 percent of Democrats, Republicans and independents think that the cost of health care needs to be a top priority of the new Congress and administration. Sixty-one percent also say that lowering the cost of prescription drugs should be a top priority.

A more partisan view returned, however, when respondents were asked whether or not they were confident in President-elect Donald Trump’s ability to create a better health care system at a reduced cost. Fifty-one percent said they were not confident, compared to 47 percent who said they were. Most Americans, 62 percent, also prefer that the health system guarantee a certain amount of coverage and financial assistance for lower-income Americans and seniors, even if it comes at a cost for the federal government, but they were split among party lines again: 79 percent of Democrats favor this approach, compared to 38 percent of Republicans. Most Republicans, 53 percent, think that the federal government’s role should be decreased even if it means limiting assistance for seniors and the poor.

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