Americans don't want to scrap Obamacare without something to replace it, new poll shows

The vast majority of Americans do not support Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act without enacting a replacement, a new nationwide poll finds.

Nearly half the country does not want the law, commonly called Obamacare, to be repealed at all.

Even among those who want to see the law rolled back, most say Congress should wait to vote on repeal until the details of a replacement plan have been announced.

Just two in 10 Americans support the GOP strategy to quickly vote for repeal and work out details of a replacement later, according to the poll by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

President-elect Donald Trump and senior GOP lawmakers indicated this week that they plan to move quickly to sweep away major pillars of Obamacare, insisting they have a mandate from voters to scrap the 2010 healthcare law.

But Republicans haven’t detailed how they will replace the law’s coverage program, which has helped extend health insurance to more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans.

They have pledged to develop a replacement over the next several years, which, they say, will protect the tens of millions of people who depend on the law’s protections.

Those promises haven’t convinced major medical groups, patient advocates or even many conservative healthcare experts, who have voiced concerns that this “repeal and delay” strategy could sow chaos in insurance markets and jeopardize Americans’ access to health insurance.

Democrats, meanwhile, are stepping up efforts to highlight the risks of scrapping the law with no replacement in place.

The public may share those concerns, the poll suggests.

There is also widespread skepticism about Trump’s ability to guarantee better healthcare at lower costs, as the president-elect has said he will do.

Slightly more than half of Americans say they are not confident that Trump can deliver on his healthcare promise, while 48% say they are.

That split largely parallels a longstanding divide in public opinion about the Affordable Care Act that has largely broken along partisan lines, with Democrats viewing the law favorably and Republicans unfavorably.

Nearly two-thirds of Republicans believe that repealing Obamacare should be a top priority for Trump and the new Congress.

Just 21% of Democrats and 32% of independents feel that way.

The poll was conducted Dec. 13-19 among a nationally representative random sample of 1,204 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample.

noam.levey@latimes.com

@noamlevey

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