Republican Voters Split Over Repealing Obamacare
Policy + Politics

Republican Voters Split Over Repealing Obamacare

It’s been just over one week since the midterm elections and Republicans are already back in the fight to repeal Obamacare—this time, with both houses of the soon-to-be GOP-controlled Congress preparing for battle. 

On Wednesday, Budget Committee vice chair Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) re-posted his measure to scrap and replace the president’s health care law with a Republican alternative, Talking Points Memo first noted. 

Related: GOP--Repeal Obamacare, Then Fix the $28B Medical Device Tax 

Meanwhile, Senators Orrin Hatch, Richard Burr and retiring Tom Coburn penned an op-ed in USA Today touting their own plan to replace the law. And Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan have also said they are working together on an Obamacare alternative, The National Journal reported. 

The revival of the Republican war on Obamacare comes just days before the law’s second open enrollment period begins on Saturday. Last year, some 8.1 million Americans signed up for health coverage through the state and federal exchanges, although only 7.1 continue to be eligible, and millions more gained insurance through the law’s Medicaid expansion. 

Still, the law remains unpopular among the public. A new Pew Research Center survey found that about 51 percent of Americans say they disapprove of the law, compared to 45 percent who favor it. Unsurprisingly, Pew’s findings highlight how much politics influences peoples’ opinions on the law. 

Related: Obamacare Projected Enrollment Could Drop by 30 Percent 

Some 88 percent of Republicans say they disapprove of the ACA, while just 10 percent approve. Independents disapprove of the law by a 53 percent to 42 percent margin. And 78 percent of Democrats approve of the law, compared to just 18 percent who disapprove, Pew noted. 

That news shocks no one. However, what is surprising is that when the survey asked respondents whether they supported repealing Obamacare, Republican voters were not overwhelmingly in support of nixing the ACA—in fact, they were almost split over how they say they want Congress to handle the law. 

“There is no consensus among those who disapprove of the law about how the new GOP-controlled Congress should deal with it going forward,” Pew researchers wrote.

Of the 51 percent of Republicans who say they disapprove of the law, 47 percent said they wanted their members of Congress to focus on repealing it. While 41 percent said they would rather see Congress make improvements to it.

Related: Here’s What Might Happen If SCOTUS Rules Against Obamacare

Respondents who identified themselves as Conservative Republicans were slightly more likely to favor a repeal then those who identified themselves as liberal Republicans.

Regardless, GOP leaders have been adamant about their plans to continue voting to repeal Obamacare. "The House, I'm sure, at some point next year will vote to repeal Obamacare because it should be repealed," House Speaker John Boehner told reporters last week. "Now, whether that can pass the Senate, I don't know. But I know in the House it will pass." 

Senator Mitch McConnell, who will be the Senate’s Majority Leader starting in January, has also signaled that the Upper Chamber will vote to repeal the law. 

Of course, both lawmakers have acknowledged that repeal votes will be strictly symbolic as long as President Obama is in the White House. Still, the GOP will likely take up measures to chip away at vulnerable provisions in the health care law—including the employer mandate and the medical device tax. 

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