One in Five Americans Want Immediate Repeal of Affordable Care Act

Only one in five Americans supports immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a poll from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation finds.

As Congress begins work on repealing and replacing the 2010 healthcare law, the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Health Care Priorities for 2017 found that 20 percent of respondents said lawmakers should vote to repeal the ACA immediately and work out the details of a replacement plan later, while 28 percent said lawmakers should wait to vote on repeal until the details of the replacement plan have been announced and 47 percent opposed repeal altogether. At the same time, the survey found that respondents' attitudes toward Obamacare, as the law is commonly known, are not fixed; when pro-repeal arguments about the law's costs were shared with respondents, the percentage of respondents supporting repeal increased to as much as 60 percent, while anti-repeal arguments about people losing coverage and the impact on people with preexisting conditions reduced support for repeal to as little as 27 percent of respondents.

When asked directly about their family's healthcare costs, a similar percentage of respondents said repealing the ACA would make their situation worse (28 percent) as said it would make it better (27 percent), while majorities said their own ability to get and keep health insurance (55 percent) and the quality of their own health care (57 percent) would stay about the same if the law were to be repealed. However, repealing Obamacare was a lower priority among healthcare concerns in general, with only 37 percent of respondents seeing it as a top priority for President-elect Donald Trump and Congress in 2017, compared with 67 percent worried about the cost of  health care for individuals, 61 percent worried about the costs of prescription drugs, and 45 percent who wanted to see more done about the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic.

Survey respondents also were split on the role of the federal government in health care, with 53 percent of Republicans supporting limits on federal healthcare spending and reducing the  government's role in health care  — even if it meant some seniors and lower-income Americans would receive less assistance and care — compared with 15 percent of Democrats. In contrast, 79 percent of Democrats supported guaranteeing a certain level of health coverage and financial help for seniors and lower-income Americans — even if it meant more federal health spending and a larger role for the federal government — compared with 38 percent of Republicans.