Americans favor health insurance subsidies

October 19, 2017, 3:30 PM GMT+0

And 52% want Congress to restore the subsidies to insurance companies

Americans want Congress to restore the health care subsidies – the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies – that President Trump ended last week. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, Republicans side with the President’s action ending the subsidies, but the public overall disapproves.

When the President ended the subsidies, he made the point that Congress needed to authorize the payments, without which insurance premiums would be likely to rise for those who buy insurance through the Obamacare marketplace. 45% of the public believes their insurance costs will rise because of the ending of subsidies, which help reduce deductibles and out-of-pocket costs – and that percentage is even higher for those who buy insurance individually. 56% of them expect their health care costs to go up because of the President’s decision.

Republicans are dubious about what action Congress should take, with nearly as many Republicans wanting Congress to restore the subsidies as not wanting them to. More than twice as many overall want the subsidies authorized and restored by Congress as don’t.

It appears that some in Senate want to do just that, though there is opposition from Republicans. The President at first offered support, but later criticized the legislation. By two to one, those who buy their own insurance individually (a group with as many identifying as Republican as Democratic) also want Congress to restore the subsidies.

While 70% of Republicans favor repeal of the Affordable Care Act, most Americans continue to support Obamacare, wanting to either keep it or to expand it. And relatively few, apart from Republicans, think the President has a replacement plan in mind.

Nor do most people think the President cares much about those who purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s provisions. Only 39% say he cares even somewhat about their needs and problems; six in ten say he cares not much or not at all.

Passing responsibility to Congress means invoking a branch of government that respondents don’t see as particularly successful at getting things done. 51% say this Congress has accomplished less than Congress usually has at this point in its term, and that includes nearly half (46%) of Republicans. When those who think Congress has accomplished less are asked who is to blame, nearly two in three Republicans (and eight in ten overall) put at least some of the blame on GOP members of Congress.

As for the President, his approval rating remains low, just one percentage point above his all-time low. This week 37% approve of how he is handling his job overall, and only 35% approve of how he is handling health care.

The President remains popular with Republicans, who want to see more candidates like him in the 2018 midterm elections. By more than three to one, Republicans would like the candidates who run for Congress next year to be more, not less, like Donald Trump. Only one in five Republicans want candidates less like the President. On the other hand, more GOP candidates with the President’s characteristics might not win elections. The public overall want Congressional candidates to be less like Mr. Trump.

Read more from this week's Economist/YouGov poll

Also covered by CQ (for CQ subscribers)

Image: Getty

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