More Americans want Obamacare kept — or even expanded — than want it repealed
Despite the problem-plagued roll-out of Obamacare — and despite all the negative rhetoric about it from Republicans — the percentage of Americans who want the program retained or expanded is significantly greater than those who want it junked.
Greg Sargent has the numbers HERE:
The Kaiser Family Foundation is out with some important new polling that deserves a careful look from Dem Congressional officials — and political commentators.
The most important finding in the Kaiser poll — which is in some ways the gold standard of health care polling — is that significantly more Americans want the Affordable Care Act kept or expanded than want it repealed and replaced with a GOP alternative or with nothing at all. Here’s the key finding:
What would you like to see Congress do when it comes to the health care law?
Expand the law: 22
Keep the law as is: 25
Repeal the law and replace it with a Republican-sponsored alternative 13
Repeal the law and not replace it: 24
A total of 47 percent wants to keep or expand the law, versus 37 percent who want to replace it with a GOP health reform plan or scrap it completely. This poll was taken October 17-23, more than two weeks after the problem-plagued rollout began (though in fairness, before the “you can keep your plan” furor blew up).
How is it possible that more Americans want to stick with the law, when it’s obviously (as Republicans and some commentators say) such an epic disaster, both in policy and political terms alike?
The answer lies in the way the question was asked, and this has important larger implications. Kaiser’s line of questioning may be the best out there at shining light on what people really mean when they say they either support or oppose the law (a plurality of 44 percent view it unfavorably), and what they really mean when they say they want to get rid of it. If anything, the question is generous to Republicans, because it offers respondents the choice of an unspecified generic Republican alternative. Ultimately, what this finding suggests is that, whatever their dissatisfaction with Obamacare, people do not want to return to the previous system, and perhaps more crucially, do not believe Republicans are offering a serious alternative. Indeed, only 13 percent favor repeal and replace, GOP style.
This is a useful depiction of the current political and policy situation. It’s true Republicans have offered alternatives to Obamacare. But there is no Republican consensus position on health care reform. Republicans probably can’t pass their ideas through the House and certainly can’t pass anything that would ever become law. Among GOP voters, the Kaiser poll shows a split: Only 29 percent of Republicans want repeal and replace, versus 42 percent of Republicans who want to scrap the law and replace it with nothing.
In other words, the de facto GOP position is to go back to the old system.