- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 30, 2016

Knee-deep in an election year, an increasing share of Republicans want to repeal Obamacare entirely but remain split on whether to replace it with a GOP-favored plan, while Democratic partisans are warming to the law after a presidential primary that put single-payer health care on the table, according to a poll released Thursday.

The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation says Americans remain split over the 2010 Affordable Care Act, with views tilting toward the unfavorable column, 44-42 percent.

They’re also divided over what to do next, with about as many people saying they want to repeal the 6-year-old law or scale it back as those who want to expand it or leave it alone.

Among Republicans, two thirds would like to completely repeal President Obama’s signature overhaul. That’s up from 51 percent a year ago, as the law creeps back into the election-year discussion.

House Republicans recently unveiled a long-awaited alternative to President Obama’s signature law as part of a six-plank agenda designed to unify the party around policies that could be implemented by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, should he win in November.

Kaiser said three in 10 Republicans want to replace Obamacare with a GOP-crafted alternative, while a quarter just want to carry out the first half of Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s repeal-and-replace strategy.

As the general election nears, Kaiser says about nine in 10 Americans are worried about rising premiums and deductibles — issues the GOP hopes to leverage in dinging Obamacare, while touting their “market-oriented” plan to allow insurers sell plans across states, bolster health savings accounts and provide an age-adjusted tax credit to people who aren’t insured through their jobs or a government program.

Democrats say Obamacare is working just fine and will stabilize over time, so Republicans should help them build on its historic gains in covering the nation’s uninsured.

More than seven in 10 Democrats viewed the law favorably in June, up from 63 percent in April.

Democrats have consistently told Kaiser they would like to build on Obamacare, and a closer-than-expected presidential primary featured a push by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to establish a government-run, single-payer system that’s favored by ardent liberals.

His main opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, vowed to build on Obamacare’s reforms. As she wrapped up the nomination, unfavorable views of the law among Democrats dropped from 25 percent in April to 16 percent in June.

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