"Voters who supported Trump consider the GOP plan an improvement over Obamacare, but are less than unanimous — and not especially enthusiastic," according to the poll. "While 50 percent say they favor the GOP bill, just 13 percent report favoring it strongly. Only 6 percent think the bill would hurt them personally, but fewer than a quarter say it would improve things for them personally." The voters seem to be saying: Don't make things even worse than they are.
Trump is not making headway with Republican governors either. John Kasich of Ohio, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Rick Snyder of Michigan sent a letter to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., imploring them to rethink the AHCA's impact on Medicaid. They wrote that the AHCA "provides almost no new flexibility for states, does not ensure the resources necessary to make sure no one is left out, and shifts significant new costs to states. We support fundamental reform of the Medicaid entitlement." (They attached their own detailed Medicaid program.) They added that "Congress should focus first on stabilizing the private insurance market, where the greatest disruption from Obamacare has occurred."
In an interview on CNN with Anderson Cooper, Kasich reiterated his opposition to the AHCA, acknowledging that there does need to be Medicaid reform. However, he stressed, some of the 700,000 people covered under Medicaid in his state are receiving treatment for drug addiction. If they get kicked off, Kasich asked, "Where are they going to go?"
His most interesting remarks were focused on the tax credits under the AHCA that would replace the subsidies available through the ACA exchanges. He noted that "the most you could get was is a $4,000 credit to buy health insurance." He retorted, "What would you buy with $4,000 for an insurance policy?" He pointed out many people are paying $2,000 per month. As he explained, all that is going to buy you is a catastrophic plan "with a deductible that you can never pay."
In sum, the AHCA is a plan voters and Republican governors think is going to make things worse. There is no popular outcry in favor of the bill. Ryan desperately wants to pass it, but his decades-old dream of cutting Medicaid should not prompt him, let alone the rest of the House Republicans, to adopt an unpopular, ill-conceived plan. Voters did not elect them to go on autopilot and spit out a bill no matter how bad.
With the Senate ready to kill the bill anyway, House Republicans do themselves and the cause of health-care reform a great disservice by plowing ahead with a bill that has been so widely panned. They won't get passage of the AHCA, but they will demonstrate how utterly unprepared and unsuited to govern they are. They will have written the script for 2018 — for Democrats to take back the majority.