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Obamacare is getting more popular by the day

Activists Protests Outside Of Trump Tower In Chicago Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Most Americans think President Donald Trump should keep the Affordable Care Act on the books and want to see him improve the law, a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll finds.

More than a dozen recent polls have shown the Affordable Care Act becoming increasingly popular as Republicans work to dismantle it. Obamacare is now more popular than the Democratic Party, Republican Party, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and President Trump himself.

This new Washington Post poll finds that 61 percent of voters say they want Trump to work to improve the Affordable Care Act rather than repealing and replacing it with something new.

The Post-ABC poll also explores how voters feel about some of the benefit mandates, such as requiring insurance companies to cover maternity care or prescription drugs, that Republicans have suggested rolling back. Voters didn’t like the idea of getting rid of those requirements: 62 percent said that insurers should have to cover those services.

Even more — 70 percent — supported requiring all states to protect Americans with preexisting conditions.

Obamacare’s approval ratings held constant around 40 to 45 percent for most of the seven years since the law passed Congress. But ever since Republicans began debating repeal, the law’s popularity has risen. Polling experts argue that Americans started to think about the law differently once they knew that it might be taken away.

“You might have people thinking, ‘I don’t like the mandate; I think it’s too expensive,’” says Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. “These people who said ‘disapprove’ might not be in love with the bill, but I think now they’re thinking more seriously about what their answer means.

Further reading

  • Read my full interview with Robert Blendon, where we dive deep into what is changing about the public’s opinions about Obamacare.
  • Explore the history of public opinion on the Affordable Care Act in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s fantastic polling database.
  • Listen to our episode of the Weeds where we have an in-depth discussion of the Republicans’ leading plan to replace Obamacare, the American Health Care Act.
  • Want even more health policy in your life? Sign up for VoxCare, Vox’s daily health care newsletter written by myself and Dylan Scott.