Fifty-one percent of registered voters say that Congress should let the new health care reform law continue as is or change it so that it does more, according to a McClatchy/Marist Institute poll
conducted Nov. 11-15. Thirty-three percent want to repeal it completely, 11 percent want it changed so that it is less sweeping and 5 percent are undecided.
Among those who support the legislation, 16 percent are in the "let it stand" camp while 35 percent believe it should be changed to do more.
The Republican congressional leadership included a vow to repeal health care in its pre-election "Pledge to America"
and many GOP candidates ran on a promise to work towards scrapping what they dubbed "Obamacare."
While GOP leaders acknowledge that an effort to repeal the law is unlikely to be successful given President Obama's veto power, they have vowed to chip away at it
by trying to cut money needed to implement various provisions.
Marist's Lee Miringoff told McClatchy
, "The political give-and-take is very different than public opinion. On health care, there is a wide gap between public opinion and the political community."
The partisan divide on what to do about the law is not surprising. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans want to see it repealed and another 16 percent say it should be scaled back. Fifty-two percent of Democrats want to expand the law so it does more and 27 percent believe the current law should be allowed to stand.
Independents are divided -- 48 percent want to let the law stand or expand it, and an equal number want to change it so it does less or repeal it, with the remainder undecided.
When voters are asked about individual provisions of the law, rather than just on whether to keep it or scrap the whole thing, there is more support and agreement on specific parts. This is a finding consistent with other polls. Many analysts have accounted for this by saying that overall opposition to the health care reform law has been tied closely in voters' minds to their concerns about an overreaching federal government, even though the law contains measures that they like.
Such a provision is the part that prohibits insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Voters overall say that provision should remain in place by 59 percent to 36 percent, with 5 percent undecided. Sixty-seven percent of Democrats say it should remain in the law, as do 51 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents.
Voters back by 68 percent to 29 percent, with 3 percent undecided, the provision that allows children to stay on their parents' insurance until they are 26. The percentage of the Republicans who would like to see this provision repealed is 50 percent -- lower than the number of those who favor repealing the entire law -- while 49 percent of Republicans want to see this part of the law retained.
However, one major provision of the law is universally panned -- the requirement that all Americans be required to obtain health insurance or face tax penalties for not doing so.
Sixty-five percent of all registered voters say this requirement is unconstitutional compared to 29 percent who support the mandate, with 7 percent undecided. Republicans overwhelmingly reject this provision and even a plurality of Democrats say it is unconstitutional.
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