Exclusive: Majority of Americans want
Congress to move on from healthcare reform - Reuters/Ipsos poll
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[July 31, 2017]
By Chris Kahn and Michael Erman
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A majority of
Americans are ready to move on from healthcare reform at this point
after the U.S. Senate's effort to dismantle Obamacare failed on Friday,
according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on
Nearly two-thirds of the country wants to either keep or modify the
Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, and a majority of
Americans want Congress to turn its attention to other priorities, the
Republicans have vowed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act since
Democratic President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010, and it
appeared they finally had their chance when Republican President Donald
Trump took office in January. But the law, which helped 20 million
people obtain health insurance, has steadily grown more popular.
The July 28-29 poll of more than 1,130 Americans, conducted after the
Republican-led effort collapsed in the Senate, found that 64 percent
said they wanted to keep Obamacare, either "entirely as is" or after
fixing "problem areas." That is up from 54 percent in January.
The survey found that support for the law still runs along party lines,
with nine out of 10 Democrats and just three out of 10 Republicans
saying they wanted to keep or modify Obamacare.
Among Republicans, three-fourths said they would like their party's
leaders to try to repeal and replace Obamacare at some point, though
most listed other issues that they would give a higher priority right
Disappointment among Republicans and happiness among Democrats about the
repeal's failure were palpable. Two-thirds of Republicans felt "bad"
that the Senate failed to pass a healthcare bill, while three-fourths of
Democrats felt "good," according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll.
When asked what they think Congress should do next, most Americans
picked other priorities such as tax reform, foreign relations and
infrastructure. Only 29 percent said they wanted Republicans in Congress
to "continue working on a new healthcare bill."
Gene Anderson, 81, a Trump voter living in a retirement community in
Zionsville, Indiana, said the president should "refocus on some
stability in his administration and some demonstration of being able to
work together with Democrats in Congress."
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The United States Capitol is seen prior to an all night round of
health care votes on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27,
2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
"I don't understand why they had to push for healthcare reform
before tax reform," he said. "They ought to sit down and come up
with a viable legislative, doable tax reform."
Americans appear to be more supportive of some of the main features
of Obamacare. For example, 77 percent said they were in favor of
expanding Medicaid to low-income families, and 43 percent said they
favored requiring U.S. residents to own health insurance. That was
up from 66 percent and 36 percent, respectively, when Reuters/Ipsos
first asked those questions in April 2012.
The latest Republican effort failed when Senator John McCain split
from his party's leadership and joined Republican colleagues Susan
Collins and Lisa Murkowksi and Senate Democrats to vote against a
so-called skinny repeal eliminating certain aspects of Obamacare.
McCain later said the measure "offered no replacement to actually
reform our healthcare system."
Respondents said they thought a lot of people shared responsibility
for the failure on healthcare. When asked who "is most responsible,"
20 percent picked Senate Republicans, 13 percent said Trump, and 11
percent said McCain. The rest picked Senate Democrats and Majority
Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as Senators Collins and Murkowski.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout
the United States. It gathered responses from 1,136 people,
including 381 Republicans and 475 Democrats. The poll has a
credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points.
(Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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