New polling indicates that a majority of Americans want revisions to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help bolster health care markets but that they do not want the law to be repealed. The data arrives as Senate Republicans are considering a bill that would repeal and replace the health care system.
On Sept. 22, a survey conducted by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that 69 percent of national adults believed it was extremely or very important to stabilize the current health care markets under the ACA. Meanwhile, only 47 percent of respondents said they wanted the ACA to be repealed, the Washington Examiner reports.
Breaking down the data, only 28 percent of Democrats wanted the ACA to be replaced while 71 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of independents wanted the health care law to be repealed. Seventy-five percent of overall respondents also wanted Congress to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) before it expires on Sept. 30.
The GOP-majority Congress has made repeated attempts to repeal the ACA through budget reconciliation, a legislative process that would bypass a filibuster from their Democratic colleagues. Senate Republicans have until Sept. 30 before the reconciliation process expires, according to Business Insider.
On Sept. 18, GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana introduced a proposal to repeal the ACA. The legislation, known as Graham-Cassidy, would make dramatic changes to the U.S. health care system, most notably by converting Medicare funding and federal subsidies under the ACA into state block grants that would expire by 2026, according to ABC News.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced that it would not have enough time to estimate how Graham-Cassidy would impact health insurance markets and access to coverage before Senate Republicans' Sept. 30 deadline. On Sept. 20, GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa asserted that his GOP colleagues should still vote on the bill in order to fulfill their campaign promise of repealing the ACA.
"You know, I would maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn't be considered," Grassley said during a press conference call, according to The Des Moines Register. "But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That's ... as much of a reason as the substance of the bill."
On Sept. 22, a survey conducted by the progressive-leaning Public Policy Polling found that only 24 percent of national adults supported Graham-Cassidy. Fifty-four percent of respondents supported the ACA while 38 percent disapproved of the health care law. And 68 percent of respondents said that Senate Republicans should not vote on the replacement bill until the public was given a CBO score, Vox reports.
That same day, GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona announced that he would not support Graham-Cassidy, throwing the bill's likelihood of passage into doubt.
"I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal," McCain said in a statement, according to CNBC. "I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full CBO score ... we won't have reliable answers to any of those questions."