WASHINGTON - Note to President Donald Trump and House Republicans: People really don’t like your approach to overhauling America’s health care.
Sixty-two percent of Americans turned thumbs down on Trump’s handling of health care during the initial weeks of his presidency, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Wednesday. It was his worst rating among seven issues the poll tested, including the economy, foreign policy and immigration.
Six changes, five unpopular
Of six changes the failed House GOP bill would have made to President Barack Obama’s law, five drew more negative than positive reviews.
An overwhelming 8 in 10 opposed the Republican proposal to let insurers boost premiums on older people. Seven in 10 disapproved of premium surcharges for people whose coverage lapses.
By wide margins, people also disliked proposed cuts in Medicaid, which helps lower-earning people cover medical costs, a halt in federal payments to Planned Parenthood and a transformation of the Obama law’s subsidies — based on income and premium costs — into aid linked to age.
“His campaign promise was great health care for everyone, for all Americans at great prices,” said Raymond Brown, 64, a Republican and retired truck driver from Rio Grande, New Jersey. “He isn’t fulfilling his campaign promise.”
Overall, just more than half in the poll said they worry many Americans would have lost coverage had the GOP bill become law. Would their own families and average Americans have been better or worse off? More said worse.
More people support than oppose Obama’s Affordable Care Act — by 45 percent to 38 percent, a slightly narrower margin than in January. And a slender majority say covering all Americans is a federal responsibility, a view embraced by Democrats but not Republicans, who instead focus on access and lower premiums.
The survey was conducted over five days preceding and following last Friday’s withdrawal of the GOP health care bill. Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, prevented a House vote that would have spelled defeat for the Republican legislation because of opposition from conservative and moderate Republicans.
The poll suggests that health care is damaging Trump’s image.
Fifty-eight percent disapproved of his overall performance as president, not much different from his negative grade on health care. Even among those approving the job he’s doing in office, about 1 in 5 was unhappy with his approach to health care.
1 in 3 Republicans disapprove
Nearly all Democrats and most independents disapproved of Trump’s performance on health care, but so did around 1 in 3 Republicans.
In addition, Republicans had mixed views on the collapsed House GOP bill. Clear majorities of them opposed boosting premiums for older people and those who’ve had gaps in coverage. They were more likely to oppose than support cutting Medicaid and were divided over linking subsidies to age more than income.
Republicans did mostly back the Republican bill’s blocking of federal payments to Planned Parenthood. And they were likelier to say their own families and average Americans would have been better off, not worse, under the legislation.
Of the proposed Republican changes examined by the poll, only one received a positive reception. That was its elimination of the tax penalty on people who don’t buy coverage, though by a modest 48 percent to 35 percent margin.
Strong majorities backed two Obama requirements the GOP would have left in place: Insurers can’t deny policies to sick people and must cover children up to age 26 under their parents’ plans.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,110 adults was conducted March 23-27 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points. Interviews were conducted online and using landlines and cellphones.