AMA Poll of Colorado Voters Shows Opposition to GOP Health Reform

A new poll released by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows that Colorado voters have a low opinion of the House-passed health system reform bill and are strongly opposed to numerous provisions of the health system reform bill currently being considered by the Senate. The poll also shows strong support for Medicaid and overwhelming opposition to reducing spending on the program — as the House and Senate bills would do.

While the House and Senate bills target the growth of Medicaid, respondents overwhelmingly view the program favorably (59 percent) or neutral (17 percent). Only 13 percent of voters view it unfavorably.

Additionally, although both the House and Senate health reform bills would roll back Medicaid expansion and cut Medicaid spending, 36 percent of respondents want to increase Medicaid funding, 40 percent want funding levels to remain unchanged, and only 10 percent want it decreased.

Reflecting the wide range of Americans covered by Medicaid and the large role it plays in insuring the sick, elderly and children, 45 percent of respondents said either they themselves, someone in their household or someone they know is covered by Medicaid. 

“If either of the health reform bills in Congress were to become law, not only would millions of Americans lose their insurance coverage, but many more would have higher – perhaps unaffordable – deductibles and copayments that will discourage them from seeking the care they need,” said AMA President David O. Barbe, M.D. “This poll of Coloradans shows that the proposed Medicaid cuts hit home and imperil access to care. Coloradans are not only overwhelmingly opposed to the current reform proposals, but they are opposed to many of the major provisions on which they are built. Both the Senate and House bills as currently drafted violate the important principle ‘first, do no harm.’ It is clear that changes are needed to our health system and that a bipartisan approach is necessary to achieve those results. Colorado voters agree that the proposals currently before Congress are a massive step in the wrong direction.”

A large majority of Colorado voters (62 percent) want the Senate to either make major changes to the House bill before passing it (23 percent) or think the Senate should not pass any part of the House legislation (39 percent) – an outcome that would leave the Affordable Care Act (ACA) intact.

Below are additional findings regarding provisions of health system reform proposals: 

  • Respondents overwhelmingly support (77 percent) allowing insurance to be bought across state lines;
  • The poll shows that 46 percent of registered voters oppose cuts to the federal funding that states receive under the ACA to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more low-income adults who were uninsured. Forty percent support this;
  • Fifty percent of respondents oppose eliminating the ACA requirement that all health plans sold must provide a standard set of government-established benefits, including mental health services, addiction treatment, maternity care, and that provides preventive health services with no out-of-pocket costs. Forty-one percent support the change;
  • Coloradans strongly oppose (57 percent to 35 percent) a change to the ACA that would allow insurance companies to charge consumers higher rates if they have pre-existing conditions and allowed their coverage to lapse.
  • About half of the respondents (50 percent) oppose eliminating the money that the federal government pays to health insurance companies to provide lower deductibles and lower out-of-pocket health care costs for low-income people. The poll shows that 37 percent support it.

The poll shows nearly half of respondents (47 percent) believe the ACA is a good idea, while 36 percent believe it is a bad idea, and 16 percent do not have an opinion. In contrast, a majority (58 percent) of voters think the House bill is a bad idea, only 17 percent say it’s a good idea, and 23 percent do not have an opinion. 

Earlier this week, the AMA expressed its opposition to the Senate’s proposed health care bill based on its health system reform objectives released in January and shared at the time with Members of Congress – primary among them that people who currently have insurance, including Medicaid coverage, should not become uninsured.

About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization providing timely, essential resources to empower physicians, residents and medical students to succeed at every phase of their medical lives. Physicians have entrusted the AMA to advance the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health on behalf of patients for more than 170 years.

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