Republicans are dealing with the fallout from a brutal Congressional Budget Office report on their Obamacare replacement bill. But even before that report came out, Americans weren't particularly enamored with the American Health Care Act.
Polls for weeks have shown Americans warming to Obamacare as Republicans prepare to deconstruct it. And now a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows they think considerably less of the GOP alternative.
Just 18 percent think it will increase coverage, vs. 48 percent who say it will decrease coverage. Just 23 percent say it will decrease costs, vs. 48 percent who say it will increase them. Just 25 percent say it will lower deductibles, vs. 41 percent who say it will increase them. And just 15 percent say it will increase protections for those with preexisting conditions, vs. 32 percent who said it will decrease them.
There is a healthy middle ground of people who see little change on all of these measures, but opponents outnumber proponents by strong margins on every one.
The question becomes: Who exactly is clamoring for this bill?
Even among Republicans, there is skepticism. Somewhat more think it will increase coverage (34 percent) than decrease it (22 percent). And the same goes for preexisting conditions (20 percent vs. 9 percent).
The CBO report isn't likely to improve poll numbers for the bill. The report confirmed beliefs that the AHCA would reduce the number who have coverage by millions — 24 million by 2026, specifically — and it projects that premiums would decrease for younger people but increase substantially for older ones. Overall, it would eventually cut premiums, but apparently in large part because older, poorer people can't afford coverage, according to the CBO.
If you are a Republican looking at these numbers, it has to be a giant red flag. Sticking your neck out to support an uncertain, massive health-care package with all kinds of unintended consequences was already a big ask, and many Republicans are clearly skeptical and even saying flatly that they oppose the bill. These numbers suggest there isn't even a payoff with the party's base, which is also uncertain about the replacement.
And the drumbeat of bad news for Paul D. Ryan continues.