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AHCA's key provisions opposed by clear majorities, even in red districts, survey shows

Even in very red districts majorities oppose nearly all of the key provisions and 63 percent oppose it overall.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

While Senate Republicans move toward finalizing their healthcare plan, a new survey finds that all of the key provisions of the House-passed American Health Care Act are opposed by clear majorities. Overall, 67 percent oppose the legislation. The results were released today by nonpartisan organization Voice Of the People.

The study, conducted by the University of Maryland's Program for Public Consultation, includes a six-way breakdown of voters by their congressional districts, ranging from very red to very blue, and finds that even in very red districts majorities oppose nearly all of the key provisions and 63 percent oppose it overall.

Seven-in-ten independents oppose the AHCA, as well as a near-unanimous 94 percent of Democrats. Among Republicans, 64 percent favor the AHCA overall, but majorities oppose several of its major provisions.

Allowing states to get waivers that would allow insurance companies to not cover or to charge higher rates to individuals with pre-existing conditions is one AHCA provision that encounters overwhelming bipartisan opposition. More than three-quarters are opposed, as are six-in-10 Republicans. Three-quarters are also opposed in very red districts, as well as more than eight-in-10 in very blue districts.

[Also: AHCA may result in nearly 1 million jobs lost, harm economy in long run, says Commonwealth Fund]

The AHCA allows insurance companies to charge older individuals five times more than younger people, as compared to three times more under the Affordable Care Act. This was the least popular, with eight-in-ten opposing it. Two-thirds of Republicans opposed it, as well as eight-in-10 in very red districts.

The bill also gives states the ability to allow insurance companies to offer plans that do not include certain benefits required under the ACA, thus enabling lower-cost plans. This provision is opposed by two-thirds, with six-in-10 opposed in very red districts as compared to three-quarters in very blue ones. Sixty percent of independents and more than eight-in-10 Democrats oppose it. But a majority of Republicans are in favor.

The highest level of support of all the AHCA's provisions was for its proposal to replace the ACA's mandate for individuals to have health insurance with a renewal penalty for those who let it lapse. However, support is still less than half, 44 percent, with a 55 percent majority opposed. In very red districts views were evenly divided, while in very blue districts two-thirds are opposed. A modest majority of independents, 53 percent, are opposed, as are 79 percent of Democrats. Seventy-one percent of Republicans favor it.

[Also: CMS estimates 13 million more would become uninsured under AHCA, fewer than in CBO estimate]

About 60 percent oppose the general AHCA plan for low-income populations, including 53 percent in very red districts. Evaluating each of its components, majorities dislike its general reduction in spending on Medicaid (55 percent), its repealing of the expansion of Medicaid (53 percent), its plan for premium support (56 percent) and out-of-pocket expenses (59 percent), and its repeal of the taxes, primarily on higher incomes, that support the current plan (53 percent).

Two-thirds oppose the AHCA's repeal of the requirement that employers with more than 50 employees provide healthcare insurance, with opposition ranging from six-in-10 in very red districts to three-in-four in very blue districts. Sixty-two percent of independents are opposed, as are 86 percent of Democrats. However, 59 percent of Republicans favor it.

A full 67 percent oppose the AHCA provision not allowing Medicaid benefits to be used at Planned Parenthood clinics, including 61 percent in very red districts. Sixty-nine percent of independents are opposed as are 92 percent of Democrats. However, 63 percent of Republicans favor it.

Twitter: @JELagasse