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Americans sour on Senate GOP health overhaul, poll shows

By Eric DuVall
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., (L) speaks while flanked by Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, following a meeting between Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday. A new poll shows the GOP effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has been met with public outcry. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., (L) speaks while flanked by Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, following a meeting between Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday. A new poll shows the GOP effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has been met with public outcry. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo

June 29 (UPI) -- By a more than three-to-one margin, voters disapprove of the Senate Republican plan to overhaul healthcare and end the Affordable Care Act, a new survey shows.

Quinnipiac University found 58 percent of voters disapproved of the latest version of the GOP healthcare plan, while 15 percent supported it.

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Compounding matters for the GOP, when voters were asked about specific elements contained in the plan, the numbers got worse: 71 percent of voters oppose cutting Medicaid, a central part of the GOP plan to rein in spending. Another 61 percent oppose defunding Planned Parenthood -- a figure that climbs to 81 percent when the questioner explained to the respondent that federal law already prohibits using tax money to subsidize the cost of an abortion and that the cuts would instead affect things like mammograms and prenatal care.

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Overall, a 46 percent plurality said they would be less likely to vote for their member of Congress or senator if they voted in favor of the GOP legislation; 17 percent said it would make them more likely to support the incumbent and 33 percent said a lawmaker's position on healthcare would not change how they feel about them.

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Quinnipiac has been tracking Americans' feelings about healthcare since March, when the GOP-controlled House first began drafting legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Previous polls have shown similar distaste for the Republican repeal-and-replace effort. Non-partisan analyses by the Congressional Budget Office of the various GOP plans predict between 22 million and 24 million Americans could lose health coverage over the next 10 years under the proposals.

"Call it a dressed up retread of the last GOP healthcare plan, or simply a wolf in sheep's clothing. Americans aren't buying this latest version of the plan to kill Obamacare," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "And the dismissal comes with the dire warning: If you vote for this one, you may not be around to vote for the next version." 

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced this week he was delaying a Senate vote on the legislation until sometime after the chamber's Independence Day recess. McConnell had initially pressed for a vote prior to the break but it became clear there were not the requisite 51 votes needed to pass the bill. Conservatives argued the bill does not go far enough in repealing the ACA, while moderates and senators from states that expanded Medicaid oppose the deep spending cuts.

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After delaying the vote, McConnell told reporters if Republican senators can't agree on legislation, he would consider appealing to Democrats for their input, with the possibility of seeking their help for its passage.

"Either Republicans will agree and change the status quo or ... we'll have to sit down with [Democratic Leader Chuck] Schumer," he said.

All 48 members of the Democratic caucus oppose the Senate bill in its current form.

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Quinnipiac surveyed 1,212 voters from June 22-27. The poll carries a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

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