Political divide on AHCA

YouGov, May 6, 2017

As you may know, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives recently passed a new health bill (AHCA). Do you generally favor or oppose this bill?

Favor strongly or somewhat:
Total - 31%
Democrats - 13%
Independents - 24%
Republicans - 69%

Oppose strongly or somewhat:
Total - 44%
Democrats - 70%
Independents - 40%
Republicans - 11%

Not sure:
Total - 25%
Democrats - 17%
Independents - 36%
Republicans - 20%



By Don McCanne, M.D.

This poll is being reported as showing that Americans oppose the Republican repeal and replace health care legislation (American Health Care Act) passed by the House of Representatives. It would be more accurate to state that Republicans and Democrats are divided in their support, but many remain undecided, especially amongst Independents. Neither support nor opposition reached a majority, except within the two major parties.

Unfortunately, the results indicate that political polarization remains strong between the two parties, but that a careful consideration of the implications and consequences of the policy features of the legislation seems to be lacking. That makes the assumption that we should be able to agree on what is better for America - affordable and accessible health care for all, or that individuals need to be empowered to take ownership of their health care or do without.

It is tragic that we reduce public health policies to a battle of political slogans. The health of the nation depends on getting the policies right. Too many of us seem to tune in to what our political leaders have to say, and then parrot their words. What a terrible way to try to craft rational, humane policy.

Many contend that moving forward from a political divide requires bipartisanship - compromise. No, not when both sides are wrong. Merging ACA and AHCA would only perpetuate our high costs, inequities, and wasteful administrative inefficiencies. We need to eject the politicians and move on with crafting reform based on sound policies. Perhaps it's time to bring the sociologists into the arena.