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AP Poll, GOP Pledge Back Health Care Changes

September 25, 2010

Almost from the moment President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, Republicans have campaigned on a rejectionist platform of "repeal and replace." The promise to "repeal the job killing health care law" is one of the pillars of their so-called "Pledge to America" released this week. But as a new AP poll suggests, overconfident GOP defenders of the status quo should take note "that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1." And judging by their Pledge, which calls for many of the same provisions already passed by Democrats, even some of the most recalcitrant Republicans are getting the message.
Rounding up the results of recent opinion surveys, Republican leaders like Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the Saturday GOP address said that in response to "the government takeover of health care, you cried 'Stop!'" But the new AP poll suggests otherwise:

The poll found that about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system, regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral. On the other side, about one in five say they oppose the law because they think the federal government should not be involved in health care at all.
The AP poll was conducted by Stanford University with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Overall, 30 percent favored the legislation, while 40 percent opposed it, and another 30 percent remained neutral.
Those numbers are no endorsement for Obama's plan, but the survey also found a deep-seated desire for change that could pose a problem for Republicans. Only 25 percent in the poll said minimal tinkering would suffice for the health care system.

And as it turns out, the Republicans hell-bent on dismantling Obamacare pledge to replace it with the changes it already made the law of the land.
As ThinkProgress noted on Thursday in a piece aptly titled "GOP's 'Pledge to America' Replaces Affordable Care Act With Provisions From Affordable Care Act":

The document provides almost no specifics about what the party would do to control health care spending, improve quality, or pay for its reforms. And at least 7 of the GOP's ideas on health care are already included in the health care law.

Among those "new" GOP provisions every Republican in the House and Senate voted against in the current Affordable Care Act are high-risk insurance pools, letting insurers sell their products across state lines, banning exclusions for pre-existing conditions, ending annual and lifetime caps on benefits and stopping the cruel practice of recission.
As the AP noted earlier this week, "Six months after President Barack Obama signed the landmark health care law, the nation still doesn't really know what's in it." With its first provisions just now kicking, President Obama admitted this week what others have been saying for over a year, acknowledging, "Sometimes I fault myself for not being able to make the case more clearly to the country."
But as polling data has suggested for months, Obama's problem isn't merely his failure to sell what's in the health care bill, but his refusal to fight for what is not. In December, Nate Silver concluded:

It turns out that a significant minority of about 25 percent of the people who opposed the plan -- or about 12 of the overall sample -- did so from the left; they thought the plan didn't go far enough.

In January, a CBS News poll echoed that finding, revealing that substantial numbers of respondents felt it didn't go far enough in covering Americans (35%), controlling costs (39%) and regulating the insurance industry (43%). Throughout last summer, fall and winter, support for the public option and the Medicare buy-in alternative remained high. And as passage of the Affordable Care Act neared, PolitiFact reported "All told, 37 percent of voters said that the current proposals "don't go far enough to reform health care."
So before Speaker Boehner starts redecorating his office, he might want to think twice about his supposed mandate to prevent extending health care coverage to 32 million Americans and replacing all of the Affordable Care Act with parts of it.

One comment on “AP Poll, GOP Pledge Back Health Care Changes”


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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