from Brookings: Topics – Health at http://brook.gs/2sSdDqK on June 28, 2017 at 09:11PM
By William A. Galston
When Republican senators get home for their July 4 break, they will run into a buzz saw. The health care bill they are considering is wildly unpopular with their constituents, and its implementation would have disastrous effects. They are likely to return to Washington even less enthusiastic about this legislation than when they left, leaving Republican leaders with no obvious path to the repeal and replacement for Obamacare they have promised for seven years.
And of all 50 states, Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky would lose the largest share of Medicaid enrollees—52 percent, fully 704,000 of his constituents. His authorship of this bill may be a backdoor announcement that he will not be running for reelection.
Two hot-off-the-press public opinion surveys highlight the political challenge Republicans face. The NPR/PBS/Marist poll released this morning finds that only 17 percent of registered voters support the Senate health care plan, with 55 percent opposed. In the core of President Trump’s electoral coalition—whites without a college degree—approval stands at only 21 percent. Among Independents, a group Mr. Trump carried by 4 points in the 2016 presidential election, the bill does even worse: only 13 percent support it. Not surprisingly, only 20 percent of registered voters, and 22 percent of white working-class voters, approve of the way congressional Republicans are handling the health care issue.
Obamacare fares much better. 16 percent of voters want to leave it as it is, and 46 percent would like to change it so that it does more. Support for outright repeal stands at only 25 percent. 51 percent of white working class voters want to preserve or improve it, a figure that rises to 66 percent for Independents.
The Quinnipiac poll released this afternoon reaches near-identical results. Only 16 percent favor the GOP plan, with 58 percent opposed. Support among white working-class voters is 20 percent; among Independents, 11 percent. Overall, “strong” approval of the bill stands at 6 percent, strong disapproval at 48 percent. One explanation: 41 percent of voters think their health care costs would rise under the Republicans plan, compared to only 10 percent who think they would fall. Another explanation: only 24 percent of voters favor cuts in Medicaid funding, a central feature of the Republican approach to health insurance reform. Support for Medicaid cuts stands at 27 percent among working-class whites and 22 percent among Independents. Even Republicans oppose these cuts by a margin of 53 to 39.
Fourteen states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare have at least one Republican senator. An Urban Institute report released this week assesses how the Senate health care bill would affect their states. The overall results should be enough to attract their attention: 6.3 million of their constituents would lose insurance coverage. Kentucky, home to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, would suffer the largest percentage cut in federal spending.
|North Dakota||John Hoeven||70||-51.8%|
|West Virginia||Shelley Moore Capito||218||-48.9%|
|Source: Urban Institute|