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Poll finds worries of loss of health care

| Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, 10:15 p.m.
The HealthCare.gov 2017 web site home page is seen on a laptop in Washington. Though “Obamacare” still divides Americans, a majority worries many will lose coverage if the 2010 law is repealed in the nation’s long-running political standoff over health care.
The HealthCare.gov 2017 web site home page is seen on a laptop in Washington. Though “Obamacare” still divides Americans, a majority worries many will lose coverage if the 2010 law is repealed in the nation’s long-running political standoff over health care.

WASHINGTON — Though “Obamacare” still divides Americans, a majority worry that many will lose coverage if the 2010 law is repealed in the nation's long-running political standoff over health care.

A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 56 percent of U.S. adults are “extremely” or “very” concerned that many will lose health insurance if the health overhaul is repealed. That includes more than 8 in 10 Democrats, nearly half of independents, and more than 1 in 5 Republicans. Another 45 percent of Republicans say they're “somewhat” concerned.

“No one should go without health care for even a day,” said Wendy Narug of DeMotte, Ind., a small town south of Gary. A political independent who leans Republican, Narug works caring for people with disabilities. She favors repealing the Obama health law, but not until Congress and President Donald Trump have a replacement ready.

Released Friday, the poll serves as a reality check for Republicans as they try to find a path to repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama's signature legislation. It found that even as few Americans want to keep the health law in its current form, many provisions enjoy broad popularity. The exception: the law's requirement that most Americans carry health insurance or face fines.

“They should come up with something that's a little easier and more affordable for everyone,” said Narug. “Some people have to pay hundreds of dollars just to go to their doctors.”

The health law offers subsidized private insurance for those who don't have job-based coverage, along with a state option to expand Medicaid for low-income people. About 20 million people have gained coverage since it passed. Employer coverage has also increased, but experts credit the law for the vast majority of the gains. Some 28 million people remain uninsured.

Trump has said he wants to replace “Obamacare” with a plan that provides insurance for everybody and lowers deductibles. But his pick for health secretary recently cast doubt on the notion that a Trump administration replacement is ready to go. Questions remained after Trump attended the GOP congressional retreat in Philadelphia this week.

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