Poll: Republicans hate ‘Obamacare,’ but like most of what it does

June 26, 2012

Repeal and replace Obamacare...with Obamacare? (J. Scott Applewhite - AP)

I recently mentioned that there's yet another poll showing that most of the Affordable Care Act's provisions are popular, even as the bill itself remained unpopular. That poll was from Reuters/Ipsos, and Greg Sargent smartly asked them for the crosstabs. Digging in, he found that the ironies go even deeper than that. It's not just that most of the Affordable Care Act's provisions are popular. It's that they're popular with Republicans:

* Eighty percent of Republicans favor “creating an insurance pool where small businesses and uninsured have access to insurance exchanges to take advantage of large group pricing benefits.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.

* Fifty-seven percent of Republicans support “providing subsidies on a sliding scale to aid individuals and families who cannot afford health insurance.” That’s backed by 67 percent of independents.

* Fifty-four percent of Republicans favor “requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for their employers.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.

* Fifty two percent of Republicans favor “allowing children to stay on parents insurance until age 26.” That’s backed by 69 percent of independents.

* Seventy eight percent of Republicans support “banning insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions; 86 percent of Republicans favor “banning insurance companies from cancelling policies because a person becomes ill.” Those are backed by 82 percent of independents and 87 percent of independents.

* One provision that isn’t backed by a majority of Republicans: The one “expanding Medicaid to families with incomes less than $30,000 per year.”

And it's not just poll respondents. On June 14, I did a segment on the Rachel Maddow show quoting various leading Republicans on what they wanted to keep from the health care law. If you add it all up, you get something that looks very much like the Affordable Care Act:

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There's a reason for this. For the last two decades, leading Republicans have supported various health care plans that looked, well, like the Affordable Care Act. Then Democrats embraced the proposal and Republicans turned against it. But that all happened pretty quickly -- too quickly, in fact, for Republicans to really develop and unite around a plausible alternative. And so when they talk off-the-cuff about what they would like to see happen in the health-care market, they tend to describe something similar to their old plan, which they now oppose. It can all get pretty confusing.

The main way Republicans have dealt with this is to largely back off of health reform and instead emphasize Medicare reform. But even when they do that, their plans end up looking surprisingly like the Affordable Care Act.

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Sarah Kliff · June 26, 2012