The latest Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll conducted Feb. 13-19 has some fascinating key findings.
Attitudes towards the Affordable Care Act have shifted, with a larger share (48 percent) of Americans reporting a favorable opinion towards the law than reporting an unfavorable one (42 percent). This is the highest level of favorability in more than 60 Kaiser Health Tracking Polls since 2010, and is largely driven by a change in the views of independents, among whom 50 percent now view the law favorably.
Despite the shift, the public remains divided on what they want lawmakers to do. Forty-seven percent want lawmakers to repeal the ACA, versus 48 percent who are against repeal. Of those who wish to repeal, 28 percent want lawmakers to postpone the decision until details of a new plan have been announced. A total of 18 percent say Congress should repeal immediately and work out the details of replacement plans later.
Lawmakers have also discussed possible changes to Medicaid—either to a per-capita allotment program or to giving states the option to receive federal Medicaid funding in the form of a block grant. When examining these proposed changes, 65 percent would prefer to see Medicaid continue as is rather than the offered alternatives.
The vast majority of Americans say it is either “very important” (55 percent) or “somewhat important” (29 percent) for ACA replacement plans to ensure states that have received federal funds to expand Medicaid continue receiving those funds.
These findings underscore the immediate need for a bipartisan, collaborative approach to any changes to the ACA. We are all stakeholders in the future of healthcare, and cooperative efforts must be utilized by our elected leaders to ensure access for all Americans.
Since Texas did not expand Medicaid, both federal and state legislatures must carefully examine any changes to reimbursement. The uninsured percentage in Texas still leads the nation, and the volume of our residents near the federal poverty level is expected to increase over the next few years.
Major changes to ACA will be scored by the Congressional Budget Office, so we must make thoughtful and appropriate decisions for not only our fellow Texans, but for all Americans.
Steve Love is the president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.