On March 6, House Republicans announced their plan to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) with the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Less than three weeks later, on March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) pulled the bill because it didn’t have enough votes to pass. According to the results of a Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, conducted a week after the bill was scuttled, 64% of Americans felt it was a “good thing” that the House didn’t pass the Republicans’ plan.
For those who gave “thumbs up” to Congress not passing the bill, similar shares felt that way because they did not want the PPACA repealed (31%) and because, while they supported repeal efforts, they had concerns about the AHCA itself (29%).
Survey respondents spread blame for the bill’s failure across the board, with one-third saying Republicans in Congress are most to blame, along with approximately three in ten (28%) who said President Trump and approximately one fourth (24%) who said Democrats in Congress are most to blame. When asked specifically about Republicans in Congress, the public spread blame equally across House Speaker Ryan (27%) and the conservative Freedom Caucus (27%), with slightly fewer blaming moderate Republicans (22%). While approximately half of the public (55%) said the AHCA did not pass because it went too far in cutting existing programs, views varied by party, with most Democrats (74%) and independents (57%) saying it didn’t pass because it went too far, compared with six in ten Republicans (58%) who said the AHCA failed to pass mainly because it didn’t go far enough to end the PPACA.
Despite divided views towards the PPACA, three-fourths of the public thought President Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the health care act work––including a majority of Democrats and independents and half (51%) of Republicans. Large shares of Democrats (80%) and independents (65%), and one-third of Republicans (34%), also said that because Trump and Republicans in Congress are in control of the government, they are now responsible for any problems with the PPACA in the future.
In addition, respondents expressed increasing wariness of Trump’s ability to deliver on his campaign promise of less-expensive and better health care for all Americans. Thirty-seven percent said they were confident that the president will be able to deliver on this campaign promise––down from 47% three months ago.
The poll results also showed divides among Republicans regarding whom they blame for Congress not passing the AHCA as well as the next steps for President Trump and his administration. Compared with moderate and liberal Republicans, conservative Republicans were slightly more likely to place the blame for the AHCA’s failure on House Speaker Ryan and to say that Trump’s administration should do what it can to make the PPACA fail so that it can be replaced later.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation; April 4, 2017.