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Obamacare getting more popular with voters in first month of Trump's presidency


People demonstrate at Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City, to fight against the proposed changes to the American healthcare system proposed by the Trump Administration and Republicans.
Erik McGregor | Pacific Press | LightRocket | Getty Images
People demonstrate at Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City, to fight against the proposed changes to the American healthcare system proposed by the Trump Administration and Republicans.

Obamacare is getting more popular with voters even as President Donald Trump moves to get rid of the landmark health-care law.

A total of 45 percent of registered voters say they approve of Obamacare, compared to 45 percent who oppose the law, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds.

Since early January — weeks before Trump moved into the White House — there has been a drop of seven percentage points among voters opposed to Obamacare.

At the same time, there has been increase of four percentage points among voters who approve of the law, according to the poll.

"As the threat of the Affordable Care Act's repeal has moved from notional to concrete, our weekly polling has shown an uptick in the law's popularity, and fewer voters support repealing the law," Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult's co-founder and chief research officer, told Politico for an article on the findings.

The poll, which questioned 2,013 registered voters over three days late last week, has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Trump and fellow Republicans who hold control of Congress have said they want to repeal the ACA and replace it with new health-care legislation. The GOP says that Obamacare is a failed program that has led to increasing premiums and onerous out-of-pocket charges to many Americans.

Obamacare supporters retort that the law has expanded coverage to 20 million Americans, many of whom could not afford insurance previously, and that the law should be improved, not thrown out.

In recent weeks, Republican repeal-and-replace plans have been met with vocal opposition at congressional town halls, and concerns among insurers about the potential loss of millions of customers of individual plans sold on and off of Obamacare marketplaces.

The Politico/Morning Consult poll revealed that voters are split — widely — when they were asked, in general terms, what they would like to see done with Obamacare.

But the poll also revealed, with one glaring exception, that more voters tended to support keeping key provisions of Obamacare than favored repealing them.

The findings indicate that a slight majority of voters would approve of either wholesale repeal or the law, or partial repeal.

A total of 24 percent of voters said they want to see Obamacare completely repealed. Another 27 percent want to see it "repealed in part," according to the poll.

Only 12 percent said they want to see the law "kept as is." Another 26 percent said they want to see Obamacare expanded.

Ten percent said they didn't know, or had no opinion.

However, when voters were asked about nine separate provisions in the ACA, they wanted to keep eight of them.

The only provision that voters want to get rid of is Obamacare's individual mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to have some form of health coverage or face a possible tax penalty.

A total of 57 percent of voters say they want that mandate repealed. Just 28 percent of voters say they want it left as is.

If the mandate were to be repealed, many insurers would be likely to stop selling Obamacare plans, because they would be left with fewer healthier customers buying coverage, and with a disproportionate number of less-healthy customers.

On the other hand, 65 percent of voters said the ACA provision that bars insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions should be left as is, with just 22 percent wanting it repealed.

Another 61 percent favored keeping the provision that gives low-income people subsidies to help pay for health insurance, and slightly more voters favored providing funding to states that expand Medicaid to cover low-income people.

Almost 60 percent of voters favored requiring employers with 50 or more full-time workers to offer them health coverage. A total of 55 percent favor requiring insurers to cover prescription birth control.

And 63 percent of voters said they want to keep the ACA provision that allows people under age 26 to be covered by their parents' health plans.

Support was less strong for — but still greater than opposition to — ACA provisions that tax medical device manufacturers, and that remove lifetime and annual limits on how much money insurers can pay out for an individual's care.