As the new House of Representatives pumps itself up to repeal Obama’s healthcare bill because it’s “the will of the people,” Kaiser has released survey results that probe the details of that will. When you dig a little deeper, it turns out, we might not really know what we are talking about.
Our opinions, nevertheless, are very firm. Despite politicians’ best efforts, we haven’t really changed our opinions on the bill since its passage: 42 percent, mostly Democrats, favor it; 41 percent, mostly Republicans, don’t; and the rest have no opinion.
But do all the anti-billers really want a full repeal? Not exactly. Although 41 percent don’t favor the bill, only 24 percent, a little over half of them, want a full repeal. Although 42 percent favor the bill, only 21 percent want to keep the law exactly as it is. One quarter of the population wants to repeal parts of the law and keep other parts.
Looking more closely at the opinions of the half of us who want some or all of the bill repealed, it becomes clear that we are not so single-minded as we may seem. More than seven in ten want to keep the provisions that provide tax credits to small businesses (78 percent), gradually close the Medicare donut hole (72 percent), forbid insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre‐existing conditions (71 percent), and help lower‐income Americans buy coverage (71 percent). More than half (54 percent) support keeping increases in the Medicare payroll tax on people with high income.
In fact, there is only one provision that the “repeal some or all” population specifically wants repealed: the individual mandate that requires all Americans to have health insurance. Two‐thirds of Americans (68 percent, which apparently includes some who want to keep the law as it is) want to see that single provision repealed. It looks like we want good healthcare-we just don’t like anything that bosses us around.
What about the quarter of Americans who are all-out for repealing the whole kit and caboodle? Oddly enough, about half of them still said that that lawmakers should keep provisions that provide tax credits to small businesses (51 percent) and prohibit pre‐existing condition denials (49 percent). More than four in ten (43 percent) want to keep improved Medicare prescription drug benefits, and three in ten (31 percent want to keep financial help for lower income Americans.
It’s clear that the “will of the people” is not so clear as it might seem, even to us, the people ourselves.