A majority of Michigan voters want a replacement in place for Obamacare before the former president’s system is disbanded, but they also want to preserve the state protocol that offers affordable health care for all who earn $34,000 or less.
Voters in the Great Lakes State seek a “replace and repeal” effort –- in that order — rather than the mantra espoused by Capitol Hill Republicans over several years to repeal and replace Obamacare.
According to a new poll by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA, 57 percent of Michiganders want the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repealed only after the Republican Congress and President Trump agree upon a more effective, affordable approach toward coverage for the uninsured.
“As we have seen in many other polls taken across the state and in other states, a strong majority of Michigan voters don’t want the ACA repealed unless Congress and the president first put a replacement plan in place,” said EPIC-MRA pollster Bernie Porn.
The poll, conducted Feb. 4-9, comes as major changes to Obamacare are in the works in Washington even as nearly 1 million people — or one in 10 Michigan residents — are now insured through the ACA marketplace or by the expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income households provided by the state’s Healthy Michigan plan.
While 71 percent of Democrats want Obamacare to stand, 79 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of independents insist that a replacement insurance plan should be put in place before Obamacare is repealed.
The survey found an overwhelming 81 percent of Michigan voters support low-cost, comprehensive health insurance to workers earning $34,000 a year or less. That was a reference to the innovative, ultimately bipartisan Healthy Michigan plan under Medicaid that was approved by the Legislature in 2015, at the insistence of Gov. Rick Snyder. That plan now covers 645,000 Michigan workers, most of whom had no health insurance coverage in the past.
Michigan Health & Hospital Association CEO Brian Peters said: “It appears voters agree that improvements can be made. However, they don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water because they understand that health insurance means access to high-quality care and greater economic freedom.”
In recent months, Obamacare has faced criticism for a mounting lack of access to coverage, increasing premiums and sky-high deductibles.
The Michigan poll emerges as the Trump administration issued a new proposed rule on health care that critics say would allow insurance companies to raise premiums, out-of-pocket costs — or both — for millions of moderate-income families.
A left-leaning research group, the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, released a new CBPP paper this week that asserted the White House rule would force millions of families to choose between higher premiums and worse coverage.
The administration argues that allowing less generous health plans, with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs but lower premiums, will give consumers more choices, draw more people into the marketplace, and stabilize the market.
“It’s quite clear,” Peters said, “that Michigan voters back the Healthy Michigan plan, which was created by Republicans and Democrats in our state working together, and don’t want Washington to scrap the ACA without first having a replacement plan in place.”