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Americans reject Republican health plan in striking numbers

A week ago, there was ample evidence that showed Americans just weren't buying what Republicans were selling on health care. Now it's much worse.
Image: House Speaker Paul Ryan Holds Weekly Briefing
U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) explains the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act in Washington, D.C. on March 9, 2017.
A week ago, there was ample evidence that showed Americans just weren't buying what Republicans were selling on health care. National survey data from Fox News, Public Policy Polling, and the Kaiser Family Foundation showed most of the country souring on the GOP's American Health Care Act, which some call "Trumpcare."Of course, polls can change, and in the case of the Republican legislation, public attitudes have, in fact, shifted -- but not in a direction GOP leaders will like.

American voters disapprove 56 - 17 percent, with 26 percent undecided, of the Republican health care plan to replace Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. [...]"Replacing Obamacare will come with a price for elected representatives who vote to scrap it, say many Americans, who clearly feel their health is in peril under the Republican alternative," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

The same poll found 43% of respondents "strongly" oppose the Republican plan. How many "strongly" support it? A whopping 6%. That's not a typo.A forgiving observer may look for ways to excuse results like these. One might note, for example, that the Affordable Care Act has long been controversial, too. Perhaps one might also argue that Americans would have more favorable impressions of the GOP plan if they had more time to familiarize themselves with the details.But the excuses don't work in this case. The Republican legislation is far less popular than the ACA was -- and also less popular than the Clinton plan from the 1990s. What's more, if GOP leaders had any confidence that the public would like their plan once Americans got to know it they wouldn't be rushing to force it through Congress so quickly.Not to put too fine a point on this, but it's political suicide to rally behind a life-or-death piece of legislation, which would leave tens of millions of people without health coverage, knowing it enjoys the support of just 17% of the public.Maybe, some of you are thinking, Republicans don't care what the American mainstream thinks. So long as core members of the GOP base like their health care legislation, that's good enough for the majority party.Except that's wrong, too. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent looked through the Quinnipiac poll's internals and found that whites without college degrees, white men, middle-aged, and older voters -- key constituencies behind Trump's victory -- all oppose the Republican plan.Imagine being an on-the-fence House Republican and seeing the results of this poll. With your career on the line, and the lives of many of your constituents at stake, do you walk the plank because Donald Trump and Paul Ryan asked you to?I guess we'll find out soon enough.Postscript: It's worth noting for context that all of the recent polling on the GOP bill don't reflect ongoing negotiations to move the legislation even further to the right. There's room, in other words, to turn this bill into something the public would hate even more.