Poll: GOP Voters Are Incoherent on Health Care

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

If you were wondering if Senate Republicans would manage to craft a bill that is less well received than the House GOP's Trumpcare bill (which polled at around 17 percent approval rating), Senate Republicans handed their beer off and did it.

A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll found that the number of people who approve of the Senate GOP's bill is roughly equivalent to the number of people who believe the Apollo moon landing was shot on a sound stage.

But that's not necessarily what I want to highlight here. What I want to talk about is the incoherence of Republican voters.

Just 12% of Americans support the Senate Republican health care plan, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds, amid a roiling debate over whether the GOP will deliver on its signature promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. [...]

But the dilemma for the GOP is this: Eight in 10 Republicans support repeal, and close to a third say the law should be repealed even if a replacement health care plan isn't ready yet. Just 11% of independents and 2% of Democrats feel that way. [...]

Even among Republicans, only 26% support the Senate bill; 17% oppose it. A 52% majority say they need more information before they can express a view.

If 80 percent of Republicans still believe Obamacare should be repealed, and if only 26 percent support the Senate GOP's bill, we can gather that Republican voters don't actually have any idea what's in the bill or they don't really know what Obamacare is. Or both.

The Senate GOP's bill more or less is a plan to repeal the overwhelming majority of Obamacare. Only a small handful of Republican senators have raised alarms over the number of people who would lose their coverage under their bill. The vast majority of Republicans in Congress aren't even pretending that Obamacare should be replaced with something that affords equal or better coverage. On the contrary, Speaker Paul Ryan has made it quite clear that millions of people losing their coverage is a feature, not a bug. People who lose their coverage are just exercising their "freedom" he says.

Republican members of Congress should go directly to their constituents and ask them what they want because contradictory poll results like this aren't going to tell them anything conclusive.

What many GOP voters apparently want (more coverage) is also the thing they claim to hate because they've been trained to hate it.

  • mnpollio

    This is not really surprising that Republican voters by and large cannot find their own backside with both hands and a spotlight. Although I would venture to more define it as they have zero empathy for anyone else until the same thing happens to them.

    I have a clan of cousins who have always been die-hard Republicans no matter what. Back in the late 80s, the matriarch was married to one of the few dentists in their smallish burg and they were living high on the hog. Any costs not covered by her insurance were written off as “professional courtesy” as thanks to her dentist husband and two surgeon nephews on his side of the family. Any needed prescriptions were ordered in bulk through his office directly from the pharmaceutical houses at cut-rate prices. I remember my grandmother complaining in the pre-ACA days that the costs of doctor’s visit and procedures (especially screenings) were astronomical and the out of pocket expenses for her prescriptions was driving her towards bankruptcy, at which point this shrew called her a liar and insisted that no one paid more than $100 for any prescription and anyone who said such was telling tales. Flash forward a few decades: Hubby is long dead, the surgeon nephews are retired and those cut-rate pharmacy house bargains/professional courtesies are all gone. Guess who is screaming the blues about her prescription prices?

    Similarly, I remember many a screaming match around their dinner table (I have yet to meet a conservative family that don’t invent reasons to yell at each other around the table) about how the government needed to abolish unemployment and make these losers drag themselves up by the bootstraps. Until their golden boy oldest son lost his high-paying job during the S&L crisis and couldn’t find gainful employment for over a year. Then, suddenly, unemployment was not an entitlement – it was a RIGHT! Of course, when he finally got back to work they got collective amnesia and unemployment was once again an entitlement that should be chopped.

    In short, you cannot reason with these people or appeal to their better nature. They have no brain (except a lizard id) with which to reason. And they have no heart to care about anyone else, so unless they are being directly impacted, they just don’t give a flying fig about what pain anyone else is going through. As soon as liberals and Democrats realize that there is no winning them over or appealing to their better nature and they just need to be gotten around in order to improve things, the better.

    • Ken Kohl

      Reminds me of a conversation I had with one of my recently retired RW brothers-in-law a year or so ago about insurance. He was ranting (they always seem to rant) that:
      1. His post-retirement premiums went up “tremendously”
      2. He has not talked to anyone that benefited from Obamacare.

      My response:
      1. Welcome to the real world. While at his employer, it (through union) subsidized his premiums. Now that you’re retired, you’re of no use to the company, so your health insurance just got “free-marketed”.
      2. My wife (his sister) and I benefited tremendously from “Obamacare”. Our premiums were hundreds upon hundreds of $$ less, our co-pays were less than before and my pre-exiting condition (cancer) was covered.

      Fuck these people, they have no empathy.

      As a side note; his views on drug penalties swerved a bit after his older son was arrested on drug charges. Funny how that happens…

  • waspuppet

    Look, this is about erasing all evidence that Obama was ever president. That’s all this is. That’s all Trump and his followers have done, or are even interested in doing. And they’re taking it one step farther by actually seeking to punish the country for having elected Obama.

    This is how they work. Making people’s lives better isn’t even on the list of objectives.

  • Username1016

    Well, you can see where they’re coming from (if you squint a little). Medicare is an entitlement that covers honest Americans, who worked for it and paid into it. Whereas socialized medicine, by definition, covers THOSE PEOPLE, perceived as lazy and shiftless. Very hard to persuade them that it’s all one bucket of tax dollars and one bucket of Americans, whose histories will vary, but not in an Us vs. Them way.

  • The stoopid of these people is so extreme that I find it physically painful.

  • muselet

    Republican voters lack imagination.

    They can’t imagine losing their jobs. They can’t imagine losing their health insurance. They can’t imagine cancer or chronic kidney disease or Parkinson’s or any of a thousand other conditions striking them or someone they know.

    They can’t imagine how quickly treatment for a chronic condition can chew up a lifetime cap on benefits.

    And because they lack imagination, they lack empathy.

    Add to all that a hazy nostalgia that tells them everything was just dandy before Obummercare! (and Medicaid and of course welfare! for—whisper it—those people) got jammed down their throats and Righty media blaring lies at them about insurance—not just health insurance, but insurance as a concept—all day, every day, and you get those poll results.

    Or, as Charlie Pierce has been known to observe, “economic anxiety certainly manifests itself in curious ways.”


  • ninjaf

    I have experienced this anecdotally with many conservatives. They rail against the ACA because it doesn’t cover them or save them any money — not because it costs too much. So, I would ask them why they want to vote for someone who is going to take it away from everyone and it just becomes this circular logic revolving around their not getting any benefits from it. And trying to get them to understand that voting for someone who says they want to do away with it all together is not the way to get the program and subsidies expanded.

    • Well that’s your problem right there! You’re trying to use logic.

  • gescove

    That protest sign says it all. Oy vey.