At a time when the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is enjoying its highest levels of popularity since its inception, poll numbers indicate that President Trump and Paul Ryan’s proposed health care law is already less favored than Obamacare’s lowest point.
Obamacare’s lowest approval point came in 2013, with support bottoming out at a 38% approval rating. Trumpcare (or Ryancare) is already averaging out at less than one-third approval. The latest Quinnipiac poll is even more damning, which depicted only 17% of voters voicing support for the Republican replacement bill – which is predicted to result in 24 million people losing health insurance, higher deductibles, less coverage, and increase premiums elderly Americans.
“It does look like (Trumpcare) is significantly less popular than the ACA was in early 2010,” said Liz Hamel, the director of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation, in an email to Huffington Post. She also noted that the public had been following heated “back-and-forth” debates for months before the legislation passed Congress, “which is different than the situation we’re in now with the AHCA, with things moving much more quickly.”
Predictably, Obamacare had a much higher proportion of Democrat support than Republican support during its passage. Trumpcare, however, is not enjoying the same support. Only 41% of Republicans approve of Trumpcare compared to around 66% of Democrats’ approval of Obamacare when it was initially passed.
As Harvard political scientist Ryan Enos put it:
In a hyper-partisan political climate, it's actually an accomplishment to write legislation this unpopular. https://t.co/pKggvUOFnE
— Ryan D. Enos (@RyanDEnos) March 23, 2017
Democrats are eagerly taking this as an encouraging sign of a resounding congressional victory in 2018, perhaps even greater than what they suffered in 2010. Negative opinion of Obamacare was a driving force in Democrats losing a staggering 63 seats in Congress.
Hillary Clinton’s failed health care reform legislation in 1993 had similarly dramatic consequences, with a loss of 54 Congressional seats.
These apocalyptic numbers have perhaps occurred to Trump, who reportedly warned Congress that if there is no vote on Trumpcare approval this Friday, he will abandon efforts to repeal Obamacare.
“We have to have a vote tomorrow,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-New York) told The Hill after a meeting with White House Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney. “[Trump] expects it to pass, but he’s moving on if for some reason it didn’t (pass)…”
“If for any reason it’s down, we’re just going to move forward with additional parts of our agenda,” Collins said, quoting Mulvaney. “This is our moment in time. The president is insisting on a vote tomorrow one way or the other,” Collins said, quoting Mulvaney.
The vote was originally intended to be voted on today, but is now scheduled for tomorrow, as House members scramble to strip the law’s “essential health benefits” to appease far-right Republicans. Most news sources estimate the bill will be defeated.
Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. His less-political Youtube channel can be found here. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW