Most Americans think the GOP can't be trusted on health care

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When it comes to who they trust on health care, less than a quarter of Americans picked the Republican Party.

Americans have no faith in the ability of Republicans to address the issue of health care. In fact, only 23% of Americans trust Republicans on health care, according to a poll from Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Friday.

Democrats have a whopping 17-point advantage on Republicans when it comes to health care, with 40% of Americans placing their trust in Democrats on the issue. And more Americans said they trust "neither" major political party on health care, 25%, than said they trust Republicans.

Republicans spent much of the last decade voting dozens of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, which helped roughly 20 million Americans gain health insurance. In all that time, they have yet to propose a viable alternative that would cover as many people, with the same kinds of protections.

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And voters seem to have noticed.

"Republicans don't have a plan," Robert Head, a lifelong Republican from Delaware, told the Associated Press. "As I look at what's going on, there is no question that Democrats are far more structured toward trying to make sure people have health care."

Earlier this year, Trump proved Head correct when he essentially admitted he and the Republicans had no comprehensive health care plan, and wouldn't bother to have one until sometime after the 2020 election.

The lack of a plan to replace Obamacare isn't stopping Trump, with the support of congressional Republicans, from aggressively fighting in court to strike down the entire health care law in the meantime. Trump is trying to accomplish in court what Republicans tried and failed to do in Congress, even though a vast majority of Americans — 57% — oppose the idea of repealing Obamacare.

If Trump is successful, 20 million Americans could lose their health insurance and people with preexisting conditions, currently protected under Obamacare, could be denied coverage or forced to pay much higher premiums.

In the 2018 election, Democrats hammered Republicans across the country on the issue of health care generally, and preexisting conditions in particular. The issue of health care helped galvanize voters to install a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

Moving toward 2020, Republicans have changed their rhetoric, but not their position. Trump and his fellow Republicans insist they will protect people with preexisting conditions. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) even introduced legislation he claims "protects Americans with pre-existing conditions." But when experts looked at the text of his bill, it turned out to be a sham.

The Tillis bill "falls far short of its purported goal," says an analysis from the nonpartisan Center on Budget Policies and Priorities.

Republicans have relentlessly attacked health care for almost 10 years, even as public opinion turned against them. Polling has shown for years that Americans do not agree with the Republican desire to repeal Obamacare, and the party's refusal to accept that has continued to alienate them from voters because of it.

Health care was a devastating issue for Republicans in 2018, and could be again in 2020.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.