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Few Americans say House healthcare bill fulfills Trump's promises, poll shows

A majority of Americans surveyed, 76%, said the bill passed by the House on May 4 to repeal the Affordable Care Act does not fulfill most of the promises President Donald Trump has made about healthcare, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said May 31 in reporting the results of a new poll.

Only 14% said the House bill, the American Health Care Act, would fulfill most or all of Trump's pledges, according to the poll, which surveyed 1,205 U.S. adults by phone from May 16 to May 22.

While a majority of Republicans, 67%, viewed the repeal of the ACA favorably, Americans overall think it is a bad idea, the survey results showed. Kaiser said 55% of those surveyed had an unfavorable view of the House-passed bill, versus 31% who had a favorable view.

More Americans considered the ACA, signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010, more favorably than unfavorably, 49% versus 42%, respectively, the survey showed. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

"In fact, more of the public is favorable in their overall views of the ACA than in their views of the Republican plan to replace the 2010 healthcare law," Kaiser said.

Concerns coverage, quality will worsen

About 45% of Americans think their costs for healthcare will rise if the House bill becomes law, while 34% said they were concerned it will be more difficult for them to obtain insurance coverage under the legislation. About 34% of Americans also expected the quality of their own healthcare to worsen if the House bill is enacted.

The poll comes a week after the Congressional Budget Office, which provides nonpartisan financial analyses of legislation to Congress, said 23 million Americans would lose their healthcare insurance over the next decade if the House bill becomes law. The CBO also said the House bill would reduce the U.S. deficit by $119 billion.

But the House bill also would cut $834 billion from Medicaid, resulting in 14 million fewer Americans being enrolled in the program, which provides healthcare coverage for the poor.

Americans want changes to GOP bill

Few of those surveyed, 8%, said the Senate should pass the House bill as is, while half said changes should be made.

The poll showed that 26% think the Senate should make major changes to the House legislation, while 24% said only minor tweaks are needed.

Kaiser noted that attitudes toward what they thought the Senate should do with the House bill were largely partisanship-driven.

Of the 29% who said the Senate should completely reject the House bill and not pass it, 51% were Democrats, while only 5% were Republicans. About a quarter of those who did not want the House bill passed by the Senate were Independents, Kaiser reported.

There were several provisions in the House-passed bill that a majority of those surveyed said made them less likely to support the legislation, including allowing states to decide whether insurance companies can charge sick people more than healthy people if they have not had continuous coverage.

Eliminating the individual mandate, allowing insurers to charge people 30% higher premiums for a year if they have not had continuous coverage, and giving states the option to opt out of the requirement for essential health benefits, like pharmaceutical and hospital coverage, also made people less likely to embrace the House bill, the poll found.

Trump's tweets add confusion

While the Senate is drafting its own legislation, the White House told S&P Global Market Intelligence that Trump remained on board with the House-passed bill.

But recent tweets from the president appeared to call for something different than what the House adopted, including his suggestion for adding more funding to healthcare — a recommendation that conflicts with the chamber's legislation and Trump's own fiscal year 2018 budget request.

In a May 31 tweet, Trump called for a "new" ACA repeal bill.

"Hopefully Republican Senators, good people all, can quickly get together and pass a new (repeal & replace) HEALTHCARE bill. Add saved $'s," he tweeted.

In response to questions from S&P Global Market Intelligence about the latest tweet, the White House spokesman said: "We expect there to be some changes, but we also expect the principles and the main pillars — lowering costs, creating a competitive environment, giving patients more flexibility and allowing states the ability to make decisions within the healthcare system — of the healthcare bill as it exists now to remain the same.

"The president is committed to working with the Senate to reform our healthcare system."