Voters in nearly every region of the United States are opposed to the health reform bills that have been proposed in the House and Senate, according to a poll by the American Medical Association.

Surveys conducted in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia showed that voters in each state had an overall low opinion of the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), according to an AMA analysis released June 27.

When asked whether the reform bill was a “good idea” or a “bad idea,” the most common response in each state was “bad idea,” ranging from 40% in Arkansas to 58% in Colorado. The majority of respondents in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio replied that the Senate should not pass the House legislation and the ACA should remain in place.

The plurality of Tennessee voters said the Senate should make major changes to the AHCA and pass it, while voters in West Virginia were split on what should happen to the AHCA.

Voters were not asked their views on the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), but they were asked about specific provisions of the proposal.

When asked if federal funding for Medicaid expansion should be eliminated or reduced – as both the House and Senate propose – the majority of respondents in each state were opposed, ranging from 54% to 63%.

Voters in each state also strongly opposed BCRA provisions that would allow insurers to offer low-cost health plans, referred to as “skinny plans,” that would limit coverage for prescription drugs, mental health care, and other areas. When asked if low-income people should be provided with federal assistance to purchase inexpensive plans that would cover expensive illnesses, but not include preventive health care, a plurality of respondents were opposed, ranging from 43% in Arkansas to 58% in Ohio.

Respondents were supportive of the ACA’s individual mandate. When asked whether the ACA’s individual mandate should be eliminated and replaced with allowing health insurance companies to charge people 30% higher premiums for a year if they have not had continuous coverage, the majority of voters surveyed in all seven states were strongly opposed.

However, most voters were supportive of changing the Medicaid program to a federal grant program. When asked whether the government should change Medicaid from an entitlement program to a federal grant program and allow states to decide how to best use federal dollars to cover their low-income population, most voters agreed, ranging from 45% in Ohio to 52% in West Virginia.

The survey was conducted by phone in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, and Tennessee June 13-20, 2017. Samples were drawn from the voter file proportional to the statewide registered voter population. Quotas were set by specific demographics such as region, age, gender, and ethnicity based on data from the U.S. Census and the voter file to ensure a representative sample. Polling in West Virginia was conducted June 19-22, 2017.

agallegos@frontlinemedcom.com

On Twitter @legal_med

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