Across party lines, few Americans believe AHCA keeps President Trump's healthcare promises

Will the president keep his healthcare pledges made on the campaign trail?
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AHCA healthcare promises from Trump

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, healthcare economist

Only 14 percent of U.S. adults believe the American Healthcare Act – AHCA – fulfills all or most of President Trump’s campaign promises on healthcare, according to the May 2017 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, released on May 31.

But political party lines surface when people are asked, overall, “given what you know about this proposed new healthcare plan, do you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of it?” Fifty-five percent of U.S. adults have an unfavorable view of the AHCA. The split across parties is quite clear:

• 84% of Democrats have an unfavorable view of the AHCA

• 57% of Independents have an unfavorable view of the AHCA

• 18% of Republicans have an unfavorable view of the AHCA.

As of May 2017, the majority of Americans leans more favorably to the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, often called Obamacare, The margin is 49 percent to 42 percent.

Given Americans’ concerns about the AHCA, often referred to as Trumpcare, 50 percent of people want to see changes to the bill, and 29 percent would not want the bill to pass. Only 8 percent of Americans say, “pass this bill as is,” according to the poll.

Most Americans would be less likely to support the AHCA if it:

  • Eliminates the requirement for Americans to have health insurance but allows insurance companies to charge people 30 percent higher premiums for a year if they haven’t had continuous coverage
  • Allows states to decide if health insurance companies can charge sick people more than healthy people if they haven’t had continuous coverage
  • Makes changes that would generally decrease what younger people pay for insurance and increase what older people pay
  • Allows states to let health insurance companies cut back on benefits they cover so they could sell cheaper plans that do not cover benefits such as hospitalization, prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental health services
  • Decreases the financial help available to lower-income people who buy their own insurance and increases the financial help available to middle- and upper-income people.

The public is more pessimistic in May 2017 about how changes to the Affordable Care Act would impact their own healthcare quality, access to care, and cost.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: American voters are also patients receiving healthcare products and services in the U.S. healthcare system. Increasingly those patients are consumers bearing greater out-of-pocket costs, so it is no surprise that patient-voters would be less likely to support a new health reform law that increases costs to mainstream, middle-class/income American patients.

How much is politics still playing in the party-split of those supporting the AHCA versus the ACA? During his campaign for the American Presidency, citizen businessman Donald Trump promised prospective voters there would be insurance for “everybody,” no cuts to Medicaid, no one losing coverage, and no one made worse off financially, and everyone being taken care of. Most Americans today do not believe the AHCA meets these commitments. Will candidate Donald Trump’s Republican base care enough about the healthcare promises made to hold President Trump accountable for the envisioned healthcare-in-every-pot?

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