With the rollout of the new GOP health care law, a new CNN/ORC poll shows that the nation remains deeply divided on the issue. Indeed, little has changed since Obamacare was first passed by a handful of votes. Some 50% of people oppose the removal mandatory health care coverage while 48% are in favor of such a change. While some have called the new plan “Obamacare-lite,” it is clearly a repeal and massive change in the existing law. The thumping heart of Obamacare is the individual mandate and this plan would drive a stake through it.
Notably, some 87%, support maintaining Obamacare’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions, which is indeed preserved in the GOP plan. Likewise, people like (by a 61% showing) the expanded Medicaid program. That is preserved for now but could present the greatest challenge for sponsors since it would eventually end. Indeed, key Republicans have already signaled that they could bolt from the voting bloc over the Medicaid issue.
The polling numbers show a recognition by most Americans that there are serious problems with Obamacare, but an even split on whether Congress should go a different direction. This plan is a different direction in pursuing tax credits rather than mandated programs through state exchanges.
The good news for the GOP is that 53% express dissatisfaction with the price they pay for health care. That is up from 48% in 2009. Personally, my family’s health care costs have risen sharply and our level of care seems to have fallen. However, overall millions have gained coverage under the law. The Republicans have worked hard to assure people that there will be no sharp cutoff of covered people but many are looking at that Medicaid horizon with unease.
I find it remarkable that the country is not only split evenly but that these numbers look much like the numbers at the birth of Obamacare.