- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2016

American voters are split over the future of Obamacare, according to a poll Thursday that finds roughly equal shares of support for repealing the law versus expanding what it does.

Just shy of a third, 32 percent, want the next president and Congress to scrap the Affordable Care Act once President Obama is no longer in charge of his signature overhaul, yet 31 percent want to expand it, the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said.

Roughly one in five want to move forward with the law in its current form, while 9 percent want the next administration to scale it back.

Mr. Obama is scheduled Thursday to join his top health official in touting the fourth round of Obamacare signups, which begin Tuesday.

Yet the administration is swimming against a tide of election-season criticism after it admitted late Monday that premiums for some of the most popular plans on the federal HealthCare.gov exchange will jump by an average of 25 percent in 2017, after sicker enrollees outnumbered healthy ones in the early rounds.

Nearly three quarters of voters supporting GOP nominee Donald Trump want the next administration and Congress to repeal the law, while those supporting Democratic rival Hillary Clinton prefer to expand it (48 percent) or leave it alone (29 percent).

Mr. Trump has vowed to work with Republicans to repeal Obamacare and replace its heavy mandates and coverage requirements with market-oriented reforms, yet little more than half of voters say they know what Mr. Trump wants to on health care, while seven in 10 say they understand Mrs. Clinton’s position.

A centerpiece of the Democratic nominee’s plan is the debut of a government-run plan, or “public option,” to compete with private plans in Obamacare’s web-based insurance exchanges. The number of insurers participating in the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace is slated to drop by 28 percent from 2016 to 2017, as some companies say they are losing too much money to stay in the program.

Kaiser found that enthusiasm for the public option is tied to what it’s called.

When half of its sample was asked about a “public health insurance option,” 70 percent liked and roughly a quarter opposed it.

The other half of voters were asked about a “government-administered public health insurance option.” This time, about half — 53 percent — said they favor it, while 41 percent were opposed.

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