By Jilian Mincer
NEW YORK (Reuters) – About a quarter of U.S. Republicans do not want to see Obamacare repealed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
Trump and his fellow Republicans, who control Congress, have promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, but a majority of Americans, including 25 percent of Republicans polled, do not want it to be repealed.
The law has been credited with helping about 20 million people get insurance coverage. Only one in five Americans would repeal the law immediately, the poll found.
Republicans were sharply divided, with 25 percent of those polled wanting to keep it intact or fix problem parts. Some 32 percent would repeal it immediately, while 44 percent would wait to repeal it once an alternative plan is ready to go.
“There is some recognition, even from Republican supporters, that the underlying goals of the law are worthwhile,” said Jack Hoadley, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. “They still want something done, they don’t want it to disappear.”
About 10 percent of Democrats polled would keep the 2010 law as it is and another 70 percent want it to remain intact with some fixes. Some 19 percent of them want the law repealed, including 13 percent who want a replacement passed first.
Respondents interviewed by Reuters said they want the U.S. Congress to address problems such as the rising cost of healthcare but even many Republicans who have insurance don’t want it scrapped without a replacement.
“I’m afraid if you just repeal, people will lose it,” said Kathy Dugas, a Republican who works as a dietician near Jackson, Mississippi, which has one of the country’s highest obesity rates. “Healthcare should be about people, not about politics,” she said. “There has to be something to take care of people.”
Some congressional Republicans have expressed concern about starting a repeal absent clarity about how to replace provisions of the complicated and far-reaching law, but Congress is under pressure from Trump to act quickly.
On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a fiscal 2017 budget by a vote of 227-198, nearly along party lines, that establishes a reconciliation procedure to shield an Obamacare repeal from Senate filibusters.
The Reuters poll mirrors findings from a poll released in early January by the Kaiser Family Foundation that also found the public divided: Almost half the people in that poll wanted the law repealed but 28 percent of that group want to know the details of the replacement before Obamacare is scrapped.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in all 50 states. The question on Obamacare included responses from 2,232 American adults, including 951 Democrats and 879 Republicans. It has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 2 percentage points for the entire group, and 4 percentage points for the Democrats and Republicans.
(Reporting by Jilian Mincer Editing by Caroline Humer and Chris Kahn and James Dalgleish)