Kaiser Poll Finds Nearly Half Think GOP Health Plan Will Cause Fewer to Have Coverage

The poll, taken before the estimate from the Congressional Budget Office became public, finds the same divide between Republicans and Democrats that the Kaiser researchers have noted since polling began in 2010.

A Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that nearly half of the public (48%) believes the American Health Care Act (AHCA), introduced by House Republicans, will result in fewer people having coverage than the Affordable Care Act (ACA), compared with 18% who say more will get coverage.

The poll was taken March 6-12, 2017, before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its estimate that 24 million Americans will lose coverage by 2026. The poll finds that opinion divides sharply along party lines, as it has on all things related to the ACA since Kaiser began its healthcare polls in 2010. Among the areas where Republicans and Democrats disagree:

  • While nearly half (48%) expect the GOP plan to increase health costs and 23% expect the AHCA to lower costs, 46% of Republicans expect lower costs while 71% of Democrats expect higher costs.
  • More independents expect higher costs (47%) than expect lower costs (25%).
  • More say the AHCA will increase deductibles (41%) than lower deductibles (25%). However, Republicans are more optimistic that the plan will lower deductibles (41%), than increase them (16%).
  • The public remains split on whether the ACA should be repealed. In this poll, 45% say it should while 51% say it should not. Favorable and unfavorable views of the ACA are similar to the February poll, with Democrats having strong favorable views and Republicans having strong unfavorable views.
  • Responses to one question highlight how the partisan divide generates lack of trust: President Trump has promised to retain “guaranteed issue,” as well as provisions to let young adults stay on family plans up to age 26, and the AHCA includes these elements. However, nearly half (49%) of Democrats think there will be fewer protections for people with preexisting conditions, and 30% of independents think so, too. Even 9% of Republicans have their doubts.

Planned Parenthood Funding

This month’s poll asked participants about federal funding for Planned Parenthood services, including contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and cancer screenings. The poll found that 75% of the public oppose ending federal funds for these services. Large majorities of Democrats and independents support retaining federal funds, while narrow majorities of Republican men (55%) and Republican women (57%) support funding as well.

Selling Insurance Across State Lines

The poll also asked participants’ opinion about selling insurance across state lines. This provision in not in the current House bill and would have to be addressed later, and would possibly require 60 votes to break a Democratic filibuster. It was not clear that every participant understood this idea, however. While two-thirds (64%) favored it when first asked, compared with 28% who opposed it, high numbers shared their viewed when pollsters presented arguments against the concept.

The poll found that about half the respondents who supported cross border insurance sales changed their minds—bringing the total opposition past the halfway point to 57%--when told it could mean fewer consumer protections, as people who bought policies from out of state might have a harder time resolving a problem. At the same time, 4 in 10 who opposed it also switched sides when told it could boost competition and lower costs.