Americans like the Republican Obamacare replacement in theory — but they don’t like what it does

Doctor patient pacemaker

The American public is warm to the American Health Care Act — Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare — but they don’t like the actual changes in the law, two new polls suggested.

A poll from Morning Consult/Politico found that 46% of Americans approve of the new AHCA, while only 35% disapprove.

But respondents were not as keen on the legislation’s proposed policies.

Morning Consult/Politico found that the most popular parts of the new healthcare bill are actually holdover elements from the Affordable Care Act. The provision that insurers can’t deny coverage based on a preexisting condition — an ACA holdover — was the most popular element, with 71% of those surveyed approving of the idea.

Second-most popular was allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26 — also an ACA provision — with 68% support.

The major changes in the AHCA, on the other hand, had lower support, with the elimination of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance and the increase in allowances for health-savings accounts coming in as the most popular new provisions (50% approval for each).

Below 50% support was the rollback of Medicaid expansion funding after 2020 (48%), replacing income-based tax credits with flat, age-based tax credits (39%), and prohibiting states from using federal funding for Planned Parenthood (38%).

The least popular element: the provision to encourage people to maintain health coverage, a 30% increase in premiums if they allow their insurance to lapse the year before. That had only 18% support. The Individual mandate from the ACA, in which people paid a tax for not having insurance, received 37% support.

At the same time, the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank focused on health policy, found that Americans generally think the outcomes from the AHCA would be negative.

Kaiser found that 48% of people surveyed thought the costs for those buying their own insurance would increase under the AHCA, against just 23% of people expected costs to decrease. Additionally, the poll found more people thought the AHCA would increase costs rather than decrease them for every group — young, elderly, urban, rural, and low-income — except high-income Americans.

The survey was conducted before the Congressional Budget Office released an unflattering report on the AHCA on Monday.

The Kaiser poll found that Obamacare had a 49% approval rating to a 44% disapproval mark, the second month in a row the law was above water in terms of approval and its highest rating since 2010. Also, 51% of people surveyed by Kaiser said lawmakers should not vote to repeal the ACA, while 45% supported some sort of repeal vote.

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