A new Quinnipiac University poll suggests that just 17 percent of the public approves of the Republican Party’s American Health Care Act, while 56 percent disapproves. When it comes to who has strong feelings, the news is even worse: Only 6 percent of respondents say they strongly approve of the law, and a whopping 43 percent strongly disapprove.
By the same token, Donald Trump’s approval rating on the health care issue has tumbled to a dismal 29 percent, with 61 percent of the public saying they disapprove of his handling of the issue.
The poll is not bereft of good news for the abstract cause of Affordable Care Act repeal — 20 percent of people say the law should be totally repealed, while 50 percent say Congress should repeal “part” of the law. And while Trump’s approval ratings are terrible, 45 percent of people say he is right to support some form of repeal.
Republicans’ basic problem, however, has never been that the public is deeply in love with Obamacare. The problem is that — for years — they’ve been lying about what they plan to replace it with, telling people the GOP has a plan to offer more comprehensive coverage to more people with lower premiums and deductibles. Trump himself made very clear and strong personal commitments to universal coverage, lower deductibles, and more consumer choice.
Those things could be done, but to accomplish them you would need to raise taxes and put more money into the system. Instead, Republicans have a bill that does the opposite — 24 million people would have lost coverage under the original draft, with those remaining having skimpier plans.
Over the past 24 hours, they’ve started considering changes that would further reduce the quality of coverage. And their changes all point in this direction for a reason — rather than spend more money on giving people health care, they want to enact an enormous tax cut for high-income families, which leaves fewer resources for coverage.