If you listen to what the media says, Americans are evenly split on healthcare. Recent polls quoted by Democrats claim half of the public wants to keep ObamaCare. They use these polls to justify their fight to preserve ObamaCare, despite its failure and impending demise. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi celebrated the recent defeat of the bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare as a “victory for the American people.”
In a recent letter to their fellow Senators, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) argued public support for ObamaCare is “at an all time high” and “the overwhelming majority of Americans want to improve the ACA, not destroy it.” With this cry to battle, they organized events at town hall meetings to protest Republican efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare. They lobbied Republican governors, especially those who expanded Medicaid.
How accurate are these statements from the Democratic leadership?
Statements like these are presumably based upon polls or surveys of the public. There are many such polls and surveys conducted by both liberal and conservative organizations. Let’s sample some of these to test the accuracy of the Democrats.
Kaiser Family Foundation
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed care organization in the country, purports to be a neutral source of healthcare statistics and information. In truth it leans toward the liberal side of issues, being based in the heavily liberal state of California. But it can be a useful source of data on a wide range of healthcare issues.
Kaiser is currently reporting the results of surveys known as the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll conducted in January, 2017. They report that healthcare is the third most important issue on the minds of Americans following closely behind economy/jobs and immigration. Nineteen percent of Americans consider it the top issue.
According to their polling, 49% of Americans want to repeal ObamaCare and 47% want to preserve it. But the strength of their responses depends entirely on the wording of the questions used by pollsters.
A careful review of this graphic shows that 60% of Americans favor repeal when informed that many are experiencing large increases in the costs of their healthcare (which is true). Support also rises to 60% when told the country can’t afford the cost of providing subsidies to purchase health insurance.
However support for repeal drops to 27% when the pollster tells them that many people will not be able to get coverage for pre-existing medical conditions (which is not true). No plan being considered will allow that. Support also drops to 32% when the pollster tells them some of the 20 million newly insured by ObamaCare will lose their coverage (which is possible).
The Kaiser poll reports that all political persuasions including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents agree that lowering out-of-pocket expenses is the most important goal. Seventy percent of Democrats, sixty-five percent of Independents, and sixty-four percent of Republicans consider this the top priority. But they don’t agree on the means to achieving that goal. Democrats want to preserve ObamaCare and let the government pick up more of the cost for consumers. Republicans favor less government spending and more flexibility in designing coverage that meets the specific needs of individuals – at less cost.
This graphic shows about 67% of all survey respondents consider lowering out-of-pocket expenses the top healthcare priority. But it also shows that 58%, a clear majority, consider repealing ObamaCare the top or nearly top priority. A strong 68% majority wants to decrease how much the federal government spends on healthcare and 65% to decrease the role of the federal government in healthcare.
In other words, a careful analysis of even liberal-leaning polls show clear majorities favor repeal of ObamaCare and lowering of out-of-pocket costs by decreasing federal spending and involvement in healthcare.
American Action Network
These findings are confirmed in the American Action Network survey of January, 2017. In this poll, they report the following key findings:
- 54% support repeal while 43% favor keeping ObamaCare
- Nearly 70% support repeal with a transition period that assures continued coverage until the new law takes effect.
- Few believe the Republican plan will “make America sick again”. Only a mere majority of Democrats (57%) believe this is true. Strong majorities of Republicans (85%) and Independents (65%) disagree.
- 63% support the plans being considered by the House Republicans called a “Better Way”.
- There is strong support for coverage of pre-existing conditions and keeping young adults on their parents’ plan until age 26.
- There is overwhelming support for more transparency in provider fees, selling insurance across state lines, strengthening Medicare, offering tax credits, and malpractice reforms.
Democratic leaders like Schumer, Sanders and Pelosi are misleading the public and their supporters by spinning a narrative that suggests Americans don’t want to repeal ObamaCare. This is no surprise. Progressives have been pushing for socialized medicine for over one hundred years and ObamaCare represented their deepest penetration of the federal government’s involvement in healthcare.
Despite ObamaCare’s obvious failure they refuse to accept defeat and work toward a better solution to America’s healthcare needs. The American people deserve more honesty from their representatives – and the perseverance of Republicans and Independents to provide a “Better Way” forward.