- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Nearly six in 10 Americans say President Trump and his GOP allies are responsible for Obamacare-related problems because they’ve made changes to the law, according to a poll released Wednesday that frames the public’s view on looming political battles.

The Kaiser Family Foundation said 58 percent of the public will hold Republicans accountable for turmoil in the insurance markets, while only a quarter say that because President Obama and Democrats passed the law, they should take the blame.

Opinions differ widely by party, though a majority of independents are ready to fault Mr. Trump and Republicans.

Roughly a third of the public thinks Mr. Trump is trying to make the Affordable Care Act work.

Yet more than half — 56 percent — think Mr. Trump is trying to make the program fail. Within that share, 47 percent see that as a bad thing and 7 percent see it as a good development.

The findings underscore Democrats’ laser-like focus on health care before voters hit the polls in November. The party is hoping to ride a “blue wave” of antipathy toward GOP policies to retake the House and defend a number of vulnerable Senate seats in states that Mr. Trump won by big margins in 2016.

Republicans are pushing bills this week to reel in health costs and increase the range of cheaper insurance options, though Democrats say the measures won’t paper over Mr. Trump’s “sabotage” of the 2010 health law.

They say the GOP’s decision to gut Obamacare’s “individual mandate” is forcing insurers to request higher-than-normal rates for 2019, as plans gird for healthier persons to drop out of the marketplace first.

Also, the Trump administration said it won’t defend Obamacare against a state-driven lawsuit that says Congress’ decision to zero out the mandate means the rest of the program should be struck, too, under their reading of a 2012 Supreme Court decision that upheld the law as constitutional.

If successful, the lawsuit would strike down popular parts of Obamacare that say insurers must cover sicker Americans and charge them the same price as healthy people.

Yet more than six in 10 registered voters told Kaiser that continuing protections for people with preexisting conditions is either the “single most important” or a “very important” factor in their mid-term vote, making it more pivotal than six other health topics presented by pollsters.

Democrats point to the lawsuit as a good reason to sink Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

They say he might vote with a conservative majority to kill off Obamacare if the lawsuit reaches the high court again, even though Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. would remain the critical swing vote.

Kaiser said nearly two thirds of the public — 64 percent — doesn’t want the Supreme Court to overturn the protections, while about half — 52 percent — doesn’t want the court to overturn the health law more generally.

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