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Americans: Not so fast with dismantling Obamacare, poll finds

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., listens as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, to announce the Patient Freedom Act of 2017, a possible GOP replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act. President Donald Trump's congressional agenda has made a priority of repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama's health care law.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., listens as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, to announce the Patient Freedom Act of 2017, a possible GOP replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act. President Donald Trump's congressional agenda has made a priority of repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama's health care law. AP

Most American voters are satisfied with the quality and cost of their health care and say the Affordable Care Act should be fixed but not repealed, according to a new national poll.

The Quinnipiac University Poll carries caution for Republicans who have long promised to dismantle the law: Voters say by 84 to 13 percent that Congress should not repeal the 2010 law known as Obamacare until there is a replacement plan in place.

Only 16 percent of voters say President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress should repeal the entire law, while 51 percent say to repeal parts of the law and 30 percent say don’t repeal any of its provisions. Some measures are exceedingly popular, include prohibiting discrimination for pre-existing conditions and allowing children up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ health care plans.

“Obamacare is not a ‘disaster,’ suggests a vast majority of Americans who want hands off the Affordable Care Act until a sufficient alternative is in place,” said Tim Malloy, the poll’s assistant director. He said there were concerns over the cost of coverage and whether major, unexpected illnesses would be covered, “but selective changes to the current program is far more palatable to Americans than the wholesale dismantling.”

The poll found that 96 percent of American voters, including 91 percent of Republicans, say it is “very important” or “somewhat important” that health insurance be affordable for all Americans.

Though 82 percent of voters said they were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the quality of their care, it’s unclear that the law is driving much of that: Sixty-five percent said the quality of their health care had remained the same since the law was enacted. Just 13 percent say it’s improved and 19 percent say it’s gotten worse.

Similarly, 52 percent said the cost of their health care had stayed the same, while 9 percent say the cost improved and 35 percent say it got worse.

The poll of 1,190 voters nationwide carries a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

Lesley Clark: 202-383-6054, @lesleyclark

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