Americans Don’t Want Senate’s Health Care Plan, But It’s Unclear What They Do Want – Danielle Kurtzleben – July 10, 2017 5:00 AM ET


Demonstrators protest changes to the Affordable Care Act on June 28, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Americans really, really don’t like the Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Only 17 percent of U.S. adults approve of the health care bill, according to a recent NPR/Marist/PBS NewsHour poll. In fact, a majority of Americans now approve of the ACA, also known as Obamacare — but just nine months ago, that wasn’t true.

So what do they want?

Maybe they want single-payer health care — a slight majority of Americans now say they would like that kind of system, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But then, they don’t like it once they hear about the trade-offs. So maybe they simply want Obamacare to go further — that’s what a plurality of respondents told NPR. Or to be more specific, they favor most Obamacare provisions…but not the individual mandate (which is needed to make the ACA work). Or they want to keep the Affordable Care Act but scrap Obamacare (or vice versa).

Some of this uncertainty is perhaps to be expected — as a certain president has pointed out, health care is “complicated.” But if lawmakers are looking to Americans to know what their next move should be, they could be waiting a while. Messy, contradictory, easily swayable opinions on health care are a common theme in American politics, as it turns out.

Inconsistent, changeable opinions

Recent polls on health care show a few areas where Americans’ views on health care are less than clear:

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