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Reuters Poll: Most Americans Expect GOP Health Care Plan to Be Harmful

Original House bill gets “thumbs down”—critics brace for Senate version

When Senate Republicans unveil their plan to overhaul the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), they will face a skeptical public that already doesn’t buy the justification for an earlier version that passed the House of Representatives, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos survey.

The poll, conducted June 9–13, shows that a majority of Americans thinks the House’s American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed in May, would be harmful for low-income Americans, for people with pre-existing health conditions, and for Medicaid recipients.

Overall, 41% of respondents opposed the House plan, while 30% supported it. Another 29% said they “don't know,” according to the poll.

The Senate released its own plan on June 22.

The gap between what Republicans say their plan will do and what people think it will do further complicates matters for Senate Republicans, Reuters says. For more than seven years, Republicans have promised voters that they would repeal and replace the PPACA, which they say is too costly and intrusive.

When House Republicans pitched their health plan earlier this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) claimed that it would lower premiums, protect people with pre-existing conditions, and improve public access to high-quality, low-cost health care. Representative Tom MacArthur (R-New Jersey), who helped shape the House bill, said it “would make coverage of pre-existing conditions sacrosanct for all Americans.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, however, presented a different view of the bill. It estimated that under the House plan, 23 million people would lose their health coverage by 2026 in an effort to trim the federal deficit.

In the Reuters poll, nearly 60% of respondents said they thought the House plan would make insurance more expensive for low-income Americans and for people with pre-existing conditions. Fifty-seven percent said it would make Medicaid less available, and 69% said it would cut federal money for Planned Parenthood.

Thirteen percent felt that the House plan would improve the quality of their health care, and 9% said it would make their health care less expensive.

Approximately 28% of the respondents said they would be “less likely” to support their congressional representative if he or she supported the House plan. Another 16% said they would be “more likely” to support their representative, and 33% said it would make “no difference.”

Republican respondents were more supportive of the House plan than were others. Even Republicans who didn’t like the plan said it would probably be an improvement over the PPACA.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States June 9–13, 2017. Responses were gathered from 1,492 adults, including 671 Democrats and 501 Republicans.

Source: Reuters; June 21, 2017.

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