Congress

Don’t repeal Affordable Care Act until you can replace, poll says

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. meets with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. meets with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP

A new poll suggests mounting Republican anxiety over yanking Obamacare without a replacement may be justified: nearly two-thirds of voters say the Affordable Care Act should not be repealed without a substitute in place.

The Morning Consult/Politico poll comes as a growing number of senators have expressed unease with the party’s push to deliver on a long-held campaign promise by immediately repealing Obamacare.

The poll found that 61 percent of independent voters and 48 percent of Republicans said there should be a “clear alternative” before repeal of the 2010 health care law. While 61 percent of all registered voters sided with repeal and replace, 28 percent said Congress should repeal the law immediately “even if there is no current plan” to replace. Another 11 percent were undecided.

Democratic leaders met with then-president Barack Obama on Jan. 4, 2017 to discuss the future of his signature healthcare law. "They're like the dog who caught the bus," said Schumer of his Republican colleagues.

The poll comes as several senators expressed worry about a rapid repeal and introduced an amendment that would give Republican lawmakers, who to date have not agreed on a replacement plan, more time to develop one. The Senate is expected to vote this week on a budget resolution that would call for a plan to be delivered to the White House by Jan. 27. The amendment would extend the deadline until March 3.

“By exercising due diligence we can create a stable transition to an open health care marketplace,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

“In an ideal situation, we would repeal and replace ObamaCare simultaneously, but we need to make sure that we have at least a detailed framework that tells the American people what direction we’re headed,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Wednesday discussed plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's controversial health care law. Pence was on Capitol Hill to meet with Republican congressional leaders to discuss strategy.

President-elect Donald Trump has expressed support for repeal and replace, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has said.

The poll finds the law unpopular, with 52 percent disapproving. But it also finds individual provisions overwhelmingly popular: 66 percent of voters want to keep the part of the law that prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions.

Senate Democrats staged a talk-a-thon Monday night to tout what they said are the law’s benefits, warning Republicans against repeal.

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