GOP’s Vow to Gut Obamacare Hits an Unexpected Roadblock: Only 26% of Americans Favor Repeal

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President Barack Obama.

Americans have seemingly had a change of heart regarding the repealing of Obamacare, according to a newly released poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Only 1 in 4 Americans, or 26 percent of people surveyed, said they favored a full repeal of Pres. Obama’s landmark health care law. In contrast, 30 percent of Americans expressed support for expanding the law, while 19 percent said they hoped legislators would move forward with the law as is.

According to NPR, the Kaiser Health Tracking poll was conducted just a week after Election Day, as Republican lawmakers promised to redeem themselves after several failed attempts to gut the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare.” But a large majority of the American people apparently don’t think doing so is a good idea, as millions would lose their health care coverage.

The poll indicated that American attitudes toward the ACA, passed in 2010, was divided along party lines, with an overwhelming number of Democrats hoping the law won’t be repealed and an equally large majority of Republicans waiting to see if president-elect Donald Trump will come through on his promise to gut the legislation. For instance, the poll showed that 50 percent of Trump supporters said they want to see the law repealed.

The number of Republicans who said they wished to do away with the health care law has fallen a bit in recent months, however. In October, the survey revealed that nearly 69 percent of GOP backers supported repealing the act entirely. One month later, that number dropped to 52 percent. Eleven percent of Republicans also indicated in October that they favored scaling the legislation back but not getting rid of it completely. By November, that number had jumped to 24 percent.

Maybe some Republicans “got a protest vote off their chests, and they’re done with that,” said Kaiser CEO Drew Altman of Republican sentiments surrounding Obamacare. “They now have a more moderate position.”

Among the poll’s other key findings was that 42 percent of Americans who said the ACA should be repealed also suggested that lawmakers hold off on doing so until they iron out the details of a replacement plan. According to CBS News, such a hasty decision has the potential to drive insurance providers out of the marketplace, thus disrupting the already unstable insurance market.

Not only would repealing Obamacare leave millions without health care coverage, but it would also force women to pay for birth control, drive up seniors’ drug prices and eliminate annual and lifetime coverage limits. The many benefits of the landmark health care act have made Americans reluctant to let go of it so easily.

Those who participated in the survey indicated that they favored several of Obamacare’s provisions, like the fact that young adults can stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 26 and financial assistance for low- to moderate-income people to pay their insurance premiums. However, people weren’t fans of the mandate requiring everyone to sign up for coverage or get slapped with a fine.

“It’s long been clear that what is driving opposition to the law are the mandates,” Robert Blendon, an expert on public attitudes about health care at Harvard University, told The Los Angeles Times.

Administration officials noted that keeping the popular provisions of Obamacare without also keeping the unfavorable ones would be a hard task to manage.

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