Republican senators face a pretty big hurdle in their quest to repeal and replace Obamacare: the American people.
According to two new polls released Wednesday, the Senate bill to replace Obamacare (called the Better Care Reconciliation Act) has very, very low approval ratings. One survey, by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist, found only 17 percent of US adults approve of the bill, while 55 percent disapprove. (The rest are unsure.) Another survey, by USA Today and Suffolk University, found even lower ratings — with only 12 percent support.
The numbers remain pretty abysmal for the Senate health care bill even if you only look at Republicans, with only 35 percent giving it their approval in the survey by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist.
These numbers suggest that people quite possibly feel even worse about the Senate bill than they did about the House effort, dubbed the American Health Care Act. One Quinnipiac University poll, for example, found the House bill’s approval at 17 percent — that was one of the worst polling results for that bill, with other surveys putting it at 20 percent or more.
Negative polling on the repeal and replace bills doesn’t necessarily mean the forecast looks good for Obamacare. In the survey by USA Today and Suffolk University, only a slight majority — about 53 percent — say that Congress should either leave Obamacare alone or leave its framework intact while fixing some of the problems in it. About 44 percent still want to see Obamacare repealed in some way, suggesting that the problem for many isn’t the idea of repealing Obamacare but rather how Senate Republicans are going about it.
That said, these polls are still very bad news for the GOP. A repeal and replace bill is Republicans’ top legislative priority — many Republicans feel they were elected or reelected specifically do to this. That’s why both houses of Congress are pushing to pass a repeal and replace bill so quickly after President Donald Trump took office. Yet by the looks of it, Americans don’t like the idea of a piece of legislation that will take the health insurance of tens of millions of people — and both of the Republican bills are projected to do just that.