A new poll finds that 58 percent of likely voters are “more likely” to support members of Congress who vote to stop Obamacare’s taxpayer bailout of insurance companies. Half of that 58 percent (29 percent) are “much” more likely to do so. Meanwhile, only 15 percent of likely voters are “less likely” to support such members, with only 6 percent being “much” less likely to support them. In other words, almost four times as many voters would reward members of Congress for voting to stop the bailout as would punish them for doing so.
These are the findings of a new poll taken by McLaughlin & Associates and commissioned by the 2017 Project. The specific question was, “Would you be more or less likely to support a member of Congress who votes to stop the taxpayer bailout of insurance companies?”
In all, the poll finds that 73 percent of likely voters oppose the bailout. It asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of having taxpayers bail out private insurance companies who lose money selling health insurance under Obamacare?” Only 18 percent of likely voters said they approve of the bailout, while only 7 percent “strongly” approve of it — compared to 53 percent who “strongly” oppose it.
Jim Capretta writes that Obamacare’s insurer bailout “is one of the most important features of the entire law,” as it incentivizes insurers to lowball premiums to increase their market share, while counting on having taxpayers then cover most of their resulting losses. He writes that congressional Republicans should therefore make stopping the bailout “among their highest legislative priorities.” The House Oversight Committee recently surveyed insurers and found that 80 percent of them (12 of 15) expect to get bailed out this year, which will cost taxpayers about $1 billion and will benefit Obamacare.
In sum, the insurer bailout is unpopular by a margin of more than 4 to 1. By nearly that same 4-to-1 margin, voters are more likely to support a member of Congress who votes to keep it from happening. And ending the bailout would hurt Obamacare and help pave the way to repeal and then real reform.
All of this invites the question: Why aren’t House Republicans voting to stop this bailout before skipping town?