44 percent of Republicans think President Trump has successfully repealed “Obamacare.” according to a new poll by The Economist and YouGov. But the Affordable Care Act is still functioning and providing access to health coverage to millions of Americans.
The poll was conducted among 1,500 adults, from December 24-26. In addition to showing how challenged Republicans seem to be at parsing fact from fiction, results indicated that the general population did not fare much better. 31 percent of all respondents to the poll said they believed that a repeal had occurred.
Confusion may be stemming from misstatements by Trump following the passage of the Republican tax plan. The tax law repealed a segment of the ACA known as the individual mandate clause, but Trump confused the matter at a White House Cabinet meeting, saying, “When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means Obamacare is being repealed because they get their money from the individual mandate.”
Yes, the individual mandate was repealed, but to equate this with a total repeal of the ACA is just wrong.
This erroneous rumor may have interesting political consequences. If a plurality of Republican voters believe that Obamacare is history, what incentive do Republican lawmakers have to keep fighting for a repeal? They are probably eager to avoid the public shame-fests that they experienced during town hall meetings in 2017, during the GOP’s attempt to repeal and replace the ACA.
It’s possible that Trump’s mischaracterization of the status of Obamacare will actually serve to calm tensions and make the fight against the legislation less urgent, amounting to a nice, quiet victory for Democrats.