A man holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare in Miami, Fla in 2015.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty

Obamacare has what Trump does not: popular support

Over the course of several years, the Affordable Care Act has been called many things, but it looks like we can add a new adjective to the list: popular.
Fifty-five percent of Americans now support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a major turnaround from five months ago when 42% approved and 53% disapproved. This is the first time a majority of Americans have approved of the healthcare law, also known as Obamacare, since Gallup first asked about it in this format in November 2012. […]

Republicans, Democrats and independents are all more likely to approve of the ACA now than in November, a few days after Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election left Republicans in control of the legislative and executive branches.
To be sure, Republican voters still don’t much care for “Obamacare,” but GOP support for the reform law has gone up 10 points since the fall, which has helped propel overall support for the Affordable Care Act above the 50% threshold.

Gallup’s findings are consistent with the latest results from Public Policy Polling, which also recently found support for the health care law above 50% for the first time.

To state the obvious, this isn’t the dynamic Republicans were looking for. GOP officials and candidates, soon after winning total control of the federal government, believed the American public was on board with the party’s plan to destroy the Affordable Care Act, which has struggled in recent years to build broad public backing.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Repeal Land: support for the ACA went above 50%; support for Donald Trump dipped below 40%; support for the Republican alternative plan fell below 20%; and even Republican voters started to conclude that repeal wasn’t such a great idea after all.

Public support for the GOP’s health care crusade turned out to be a mirage. All it took was a good, long look at what the right wanted to put in its place.

In fact, the bad news for Republicans on health care doesn’t end there. The Kaiser Family Foundation released its latest report yesterday, which found most Americans believe Republicans, not Democrats, are now responsible for implementing the ACA successfully. The same report found that 75% of Americans – including a majority of self-identified GOP voters – want Trump and his administration to try to make the Affordable Care Act work better.

The White House’s stated approach – push the law towards failure, then blame Democrats – isn’t likely to work. If Republicans are counting on that to work out well for them, they’ll probably need a back-up plan.

Affordable Care Act, Health Care, Obamacare and Polling

Obamacare has what Trump does not: popular support