Health and Science

Americans strongly oppose Republican plan to replace Obamacare, and many would punish their congressmen for voting for it, new poll says

The GOP's health-care vote is a huge's what the experts said on CNBC
The GOP's health-care vote is a huge's what the experts said on CNBC

They really don't like this bill — and are ready to punish members of Congress who vote for it.

A very small minority of U.S. voters, just 17 percent of them, support the Republican plan to repeal and replace key parts of Obamacare, while 56 percent of voters disapprove of the bill, which is headed for a do-or-die vote Thursday, a new poll shows.

The Quinnipiac University poll also reveals that 46 percent of voters say they will be less likely to vote for their U.S. senator or congressman if they vote for the GOP replacement plan.

A mere 19 percent said they would be more likely to vote for their lawmakers under that scenario. Another 29 percent said the vote of their legislators would not matter.

The poll also found that 1 out of every 7 Americans believes they will lose their health insurance if the bill becomes law. The poll, which was conducted over the past week, surveyed 1,056 voters, and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

"Replacing Obamacare will come with a price for elected representatives who vote to scrap it, say many Americans, who clearly feel their health is in peril under the Republican alternative," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.

The poll was released Thursday, just hours before a scheduled vote on the embattled bill by the full House of Representatives.

The bill is being heavily promoted by President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress.

But it has been opposed by a number of more conservative Republican lawmakers and think tanks, who say it does not go far enough in repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Reflecting that intraparty schism, the Quinnipiac poll found that only 41 percent of the Republican voters who were surveyed supported the GOP bill, with 24 percent opposing it.

Just 29 percent of all voters polled approved of Trump's handling of health-care issues, with 61 percent disapproving it.

Half of all voters support a partial repeal of Obamacare. But just 20 percent support a full repeal, and 27 percent said the law should not be fully repealed.

The GOP bill, entitled the American Health Care Act, would repeal Obamacare taxes, get rid of the requirement that most people have health coverage or face a fine, and scale back the subsidies for private individual health plans and federal Medicaid funding that are key components of the current health-care law.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 24 million more people would lack health insurance by 2026 if the bill becomes law than would be the case if Obamacare continued in its present form.

A large majority of all voters polled in the Quinnipiac survey, 74 percent, said they opposed cutting federal funding for Medicaid, while just 22 percent favored such cuts. Among Republican voters alone, 54 percent oppose reducing federal funding for Medicaid, and 39 percent support doing so.

The poll also questioned voters on their opinion of cutting federal spending on Planned Parenthood, the reproductive health services provider. The Republican bill would suspend funding of Planned Parenthood for one year.

When they were asked simply about the idea of cutting funding for that group, 60 percent of voters opposed it, and 32 percent supported such cuts. However, "when it is explained that federal funding for Planned Parenthood is used only for non-abortion health issues," 80 percent of voters opposed cutting the funds, and just 14 percent favored doing so, according to a summary of the polls results.

The Quinnipiac poll found that 85 percent of voters said it is "very important" for health insurance to be affordable to Americans. Another 13 percent said that was "somewhat important."