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Poll: Americans Increasingly Think Their Health Care Will Get Worse

When it comes to health care, Americans may be having buyer's remorse.

More adults approve of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, than the alternative health care bill passed this month by House Republicans, according to a poll published Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The numbers come just as members of the Senate are hammering out details of their own health care plan. Republicans are looking to fulfill their years-long campaign promises to repeal Obamacare. It's just not clear that voters want them to do so.

"This is the kind of information that they've been dreading," Joe Antos, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, says of GOP leaders. "They could see the negative reaction that the House bill got, and clearly, they recognize that their job is to come up with something that will work better politically and, ideally, work better for the people that will be most affected."

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said last week that the House Republican bill will result in 23 million fewer people having health insurance than if the Affordable Care Act were left in place.

Here are highlights of the poll, as explained by Mollyann Brodie, senior vice president of Public Opinion Research at Kaiser. It was conducted May 16 to 22, before the latest CBO score was released:

  • Almost half of those polled, 49 percent, say they have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, while only one-third, 31 percent, say the same about the proposed Republican alternative, the American Health Care Act.
  • The division falls along party lines, with 78 percent of Democrats saying they approve of the Affordable Care Act and 67 percent of Republicans favoring the AHCA.
  • About 45 percent of Americans say they expect their health care costs to rise. That is up from 28 percent who said the same in December of last year.
  • Two-thirds of respondents, including half of Republicans, say that President Trump and Republicans are responsible for any current and future problems with Obamacare.
  • About 75 percent of those surveyed say the bill passed by the House doesn't fulfill Trump's promises on health care.
  • Fewer than 10 percent of people say they want the House Republican bill passed as is. About 30 percent say it should not be passed at all, while another 26 percent say it needs major changes.
  • The survey was conducted from May 16 to 22 among a sample of 1,205 adults living in the United States. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

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    Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak is a health policy correspondent on NPR's Science Desk.
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