While Senate Republicans move toward finalizing their healthcare plan, a new in-depth survey finds that all of the key provisions of the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) are opposed by clear majorities. Overall, 67 percent oppose the legislation.

The study, conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation (PPC), includes a six-way breakdown of voters by their congressional districts ranging from very red (Republican) to very blue (Democratic) districts 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.

“Senate Republicans face an uphill climb in crafting a version of the AHCA that will get majority public support, even in red states,” said PPC Director Steven Kull. “While the Senate is talking about adjusting the House bill, it is still largely working with the same components which are quite unpopular.”

Allowing Consideration of Pre-existing Conditions: 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 another AHCA provision that encounters overwhelming and bipartisan opposition. More than three-quarters are opposed, as are six-in-ten Republicans. Three-quarters are also opposed in very red districts, as well as more than eight-in-ten in very blue districts.

Allowing Higher Premium Rates for Older Individuals: 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 (ACA or Obamacare). This provision was the least popular provision with eight-in-ten opposing it. This was strikingly unanimous with two-thirds of Republicans opposed, as well as eight-in-ten in very red districts.

Repealing Requirement for Covering Essential Benefits: The AHCA 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-ten are opposed in very red districts as compared to three-quarters in very blue ones. Six in ten independents and more than eight-in-ten Democrats oppose it. But a majority of Republicans are in favor.

Replacing Individual Mandate With Renewal Penalty: The highest level of support of all the AHCA 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) and a majority (55 percent) is 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.

Healthcare for Low-Income Populations: Six-in-ten oppose the general AHCA plan for low-income populations, including 53 percent in very red districts. Evaluating each of its components, majorities find unacceptable 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).

In contrast, evaluating the plan for low-income populations in the ACA, 62 percent find it acceptable overall, including 57 percent in very red districts. Also majorities find acceptable its plan for Medicaid expansion (53 percent), premium support (61 percent), and out of pocket expenses (57 percent) and its tax plan (57 percent).

Interestingly, half of Republicans find the ACA plan acceptable and two-thirds find it at least tolerable. Also, most components are found acceptable to majorities of Republicans, with larger majorities finding acceptable the ACA’s plan for premium support (62 percent) and out of pocket expenses (57 percent) than that of AHCA (55 percent and 54 percent respectively). The exception is the ACA’s tax plan, which is found acceptable by just 45 percent, but at least tolerable by six-in-ten.

Repealing Employer Mandate: 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-ten 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.

Disallowing Access to Planned Parenthood: Sixty-seven 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.

The survey was conducted online between June 8 – 13, 2017with a national probability-based sample of 2,430 registered voters, provided by Nielsen Scarborough from Nielsen Scarborough’s sample of respondents, recruited by mail and telephone using a random sample of households. The margin of error was (+/-) 2 percent.

A report of the results can be found at:

The questionnaire can be found at:

As President Donald J. Trump announced the withdrawal of participation by the United States in the Paris climate accord, he claimed his decision was in service of people in a number of midwestern states, saying

It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, along with many, many other locations within our great country, before Paris, France.

However, VOP’s recent survey on U.S. energy policy found support for U.S. participation in the Paris agreement, among 71 percent of Americans overall, including 66 percent in Ohio, 68 percent in Michigan, and 74 percent in Pennsylvania. These responses came after hearing strongly-stated arguments that highlighted potential costs as well as arguments in favor.

See the results on this question here.

The full report can be seen here.

As Congress begins to debate the FY2018 budget, a new study reveals strong support for greater federal efforts to reduce poverty. The study, conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation (PPC), finds that majorities of Republicans and Democrats agree on numerous new options for federal poverty programs.

Support for addressing child poverty was especially strong. Seventy-two percent favored an idea currently being promoted in Congress to make pre-kindergarten available to all 4-year-olds in low-income families and expand the availability of Early Head Start programs to more children, age three and under, from low-income families. This included 52 percent of Republicans as well as 90 percent of Democrats.

Three-quarters favored an idea, also currently being promoted in Congress, to establish a commission to develop a plan to reduce child poverty by half in 10 years and to seek to eliminate it within 20 years (including 59 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats).

There was bipartisan support for raising the federal minimum wage, but not as far as some popular liberal proposals. Three-in-four favored raising the minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $9.00 over a two-year period (including 58 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats). Fifty-seven percent were ready to go further and raise it to $10.10, but only one-in-three Republicans were willing to take this step.

Sixty-three percent favored indexing the federal minimum wage to inflation, but this was true of just 46 percent of Republicans.

“Contrary to what we see in Congress, when Americans consider federal options for addressing poverty they find quite a lot of bipartisan common ground for taking action,” said PPC Director Steven Kull. “There is a clear consensus that the federal government has a role to play in fighting poverty.”

Overwhelming bipartisan majorities favored establishing federal job creation programs to employ people who have been unemployed for a period. However there was division on whether these programs should be instituted under current conditions or whether the federal government should have them ready to if economic conditions worsen. For the most popular program, which would employ young people in public land preservation projects, 57 percent favored starting the program now, but this was true of only 46 percent of Republicans.

There was support for making the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) available to more low-wage workers without children. Six-in-ten favored raising the maximum amount they can make and still be eligible for EITC from $14,820 to $18,000 (51 percent of Republicans, 67 percent of Democrats).

Six-in-ten, including 54 percent of Democrats, approved of the conservative idea of giving states the option of receiving federal poverty program funds in the form of block grants for some programs, which the states would then administer with federal regulation.

Addressing the problem of nonpayment of wages, which tends to disproportionately hurt low-income workers, 89 percent favored a proposal saying that if a company under a government contract is found guilty of not paying wages, the company will lose the right to bid on government contracts.

In previously released findings, when told about current levels of benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—commonly known as ‘food stamps’—large majorities favored increasing them including two-thirds of Republicans and nine-in-ten Democrats. However, there was also overwhelming bipartisan support for the conservative idea of limiting what SNAP benefits can be used for—disallowing sweetened sodas or candy.

Support for Medicaid expansion was quite strong, with two thirds supporting it in their state, including 62 percent in states that have not elected to expand it. 

The survey was conducted online with a national probability-based sample of 7,128 registered voters, provided by Nielsen Scarborough from Nielsen Scarborough’s sample of respondents, recruited by mail and telephone using a random sample of households. The margin of error was +/- 1.2 percent.

The study was unique in that respondents received a short briefing on the proposals for reforming federal poverty program and evaluated strongly stated arguments both for and against each option before making their final recommendations. The briefing and the pro and con arguments were developed and reviewed by key staffers from both parties, who deal with these issues from Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. In addition, specialists were consulted representing the spectrum of opinion on the issues.

The sample also included samples of approximately 400 or more from eight states—Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, California, Maryland and New York. Despite the range from very red to very blue, the results in all the states were largely the same as for the national sample.

The report can be found at: http://vop.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Poverty_Report.pdf

The survey’s questionnaire can be found at: http://vop.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Poverty_Quaire.pdf

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