While Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that Republicans will figure out a way to bring the House-passed repeal of the health care reform law to the Senate floor, he acknowledged there is little chance that repeal efforts would succeed and vowed to go after it
"piece by piece and try to do what we can to keep it from being implemented."
McConnell said a key weapon in picking the law apart would be to attack elements of it that require funding.
But a Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Health poll
, conducted Jan. 4-14, says that Americans oppose the idea of using the appropriations process to cut off the funding needing to put health reform into place by a 62 percent to 33 percent margin, with 6 percent undecided.
That result comes despite the fact that the percentage of Americans who view the law unfavorably jumped from 41 percent in the previous poll to 50 percent while 41 percent have a positive view of it. Nine percent were undecided.
A key factor in the contrast between these findings is the attitude of independents. While 47 percent of them want the law repealed outright or replaced with a Republican alternative, compared to 40 percent who would expand it or keep it as is, they reject using the power of the purse to whittle down the law by a 62 percent to 32 percent margin, with 6 percent undecided.
Republicans approve of the defunding strategy by 57 percent to 38 percent with 6 percent undecided, while Democrats oppose it 84 percent to 13 percent, with 3 percent undecided.
On the general question of "what next?" for health care reform, 47 percent of those surveyed favored expanding the law or keeping it as is, while 43 percent favored repeal of replacing it with a Republican alternative.
Americans have mixed views on the lawsuits being filed by state attorneys general
challenging the law's legality, particularly the requirement that all Americans obtain health coverage. Thirty-two percent say those filing suit see the law as violating the Constitution while 32 percent believe it's a bid to score political points. Twenty-two percent say it's not about the law or politics, but the fact that lawmakers see health care reform as bad policy.
Reasons for the unfavorable view of the law include the belief that it entails too much government involvement (more than half of those surveyed take that view) while six in 10 Americans think it will increase the deficit.
But as polls by Kaiser and others have shown, the picture gets more complicated when the public is asked about individual provisions of the law.
When Kaiser asked about 12 provisions in the health care law, nine of them had the support of a majority of those surveyed.
For instance, 85 percent support the 50 percent discount on prescription drugs
that will be given to beneficiaries who fall into the so-called Medicare "doughnut hole" when they have passed their drug coverage limit. Those beneficiaries would have been forced to pick up the whole cost of brand-name drugs until they reached the threshold for catastrophic coverage.
Another example is subsidies for low- and moderate-income Americans to buy insurance, which is supported by 79 percent.
The least-liked provision in the bill is the mandate that all individuals obtain health coverage, which is supported by only 23 percent.
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