Daily Egyptian

Recent Illinois poll reflects state opinions on repealing Obamacare

By Francois Gatimu

A recent Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll shows voters are conflicted on whether to repeal and replace the existing federal health care law.

The poll, conducted in early March, found that half of the 1,000 Illinois voters surveyed want to keep the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, while 35 percent of voters want Congress to repeal the law. Fifteen percent of those surveyed had no opinion.

Republicans in U.S. Congress have planned to repeal ACA since President Donald Trump’s election three months ago. House Republican leaders pulled the legislation from consideration on the House floor Friday afternoon because of insufficient votes.

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Opinions varied based on political party alignment and geographical location. Chicago voters were most supportive of the existing law, with 60 percent in favor of the health care coverage. Suburban voters held similar views, with 52 percent in support, However, 44 percent of downstate residents want the law repealed.

Eighty-seven percent of Democrats support keeping the ACA, while 31 percent of independents and 66 percent of Republicans support repeal.

With the current Illinois budget stalemate, repealing the health care act was seen as exacerbating the poverty issue by local poll experts.

“The ultimate future of Obamacare, while unpopular with many people, has dramatic implications for the state of Illinois,” said Linda Baker, university professor at the institute.

Because the state added more than 650,000 people to its Medicaid program during an expansion of the program through the ACA, Baker said the state would be expected to assume costs currently being borne by the federal government for those recipients if the law is repealed.

She said such action would have “enormous consequences for the state and for those who may lose coverage.”

Survey respondents were also asked about contributing factors to poverty and the role of the federal government to intervene.

When asked about the causes of poverty in their respective regions,  41.4 percent of respondents directly blamed the government. About one-fourth blamed social or cultural factors, and 16 percent viewed a lack of employment as the cause.  

The remaining respondents placed blame on medical and educational factors, among others.

The poll was conducted by telephone from March 4 through March 11. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Staff writer Francois Gatimu can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @frankDE28.

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