National

Repeal Obamacare? Maybe not so fast, Republican voters say

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Health and Human Services Secretary, gestures as he delivers the keynote address at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution titled "A Reform Agenda for the Federal Budget Process," Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016 in Washington.
House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Health and Human Services Secretary, gestures as he delivers the keynote address at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution titled "A Reform Agenda for the Federal Budget Process," Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016 in Washington. AP

President-elect Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have repeatedly pledged to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

But a new poll suggests Republican voters may be shifting their positions from backing a complete repeal to supporting a scaling back of the law, illustrating the complexity of the task facing Republican lawmakers who have long vowed to dismantle the program.

A tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found an increase in the share of Americans who want lawmakers simply to scale back the law: 17 percent compared to 9 percent last month, as well as a decrease in the share of voters who want lawmakers to repeal the entire law, 26 percent compared to 32 percent in October.

Kaiser says the shift in attitudes is largely driven by Republicans, with a little more than half or 52 percent saying they want the Affordable Care Act to be repealed, compared to 69 percent who supported full repeal in October. At the same time, Kaiser said, there was an increase in the share of Republicans who want lawmakers to scale back what the law does, from 11 percent to 24 percent.

Trump on the campaign trail pledged to “repeal and replace” the law known as Obamacare, but suggested after a meeting with Obama that he’d consider amending the law. His Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, said on the campaign trail that she would look to fix the law, rather than scrap it.

The November Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, conducted a week after the election, provides little clarity: in addition to the 26 percent who back repealing the entire law and the 17 percent who it scaled back, 30 percent of the public want to see the law expanded and 19 percent want to see it unchanged.

Many of the law’s provisions remain popular, even across party lines, the survey found. The notable exception is the requirement that nearly all Americans have health insurance or pay a fine. Most popular is the provision that permits young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26.

Trump’s choice for Health and Human Services Secretary is a consistent critic of Obamacare and would be able to repeal at least one provision without engaging Congress: the requirement that most health care plans provide free birth control to women.

Lesley Clark: 202-383-6054, @lesleyclark

  Comments