He promised to immediately repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but Americans are glad he didn't.
After years of Donald Trump's attacks on the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, the law is as popular as ever. And it is significantly more popular than Trump.
Gallup's latest data, released Wednesday, found 55% of Americans support the 2010 health care law — tied for its highest support level ever. This is 18 points higher than in November 2014, when Republicans won majorities in the House and Senate highlighting their opposition to the law.
In his 2016 campaign, Trump's promise to immediately replace Obamacare with something "terrific" was a centerpiece of his message. At least 68 times he said he would "repeal and replace" the legislation with an unspecified plan that would cover every American.
"It's private. You will get great plans, you will have great competition, everything else. Now, at the lower end, where people have no money, I want to try and help those people. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that," he told CNN in July 2015.
But Trump never actually produced a legislative proposal for universal coverage. In 2017, he backed a repeal bill offered by congressional Republicans that would have stripped coverage for millions of Americans. He later admitted that this "Trumpcare" proposal was "mean" and without much "heart."
Despite full GOP control of Congress at the time, the repeal bill narrowly passed in the House and failed by a single vote in the Senate.
Since the repeal failure, Trump spent much of the past four years trying to sabotage the system from within, making frequent pronouncements that the law is a "disaster." He continued to repeatedly claim that he would soon release a plan, but never did.
But despite — or perhaps because of — Trump and his party's attempts to kill Obamacare, its popularity continued to grow. Gallup found approval for the law at 42% in November 2016, 50% in November 2017, 52% in November 2019, and 55% now.
Trump's own popularity has not seen similar growth. Gallup did not find majority approval for his job performance at any time during his presidency and recorded majority disapproval in almost every survey. The organization's first post-election poll found Trump's approval had dropped to 42% support for the lame duck and 55% disapproval, including a drop in support from Republicans. The loss in support for Trump after the election was particularly noteworthy because according to Gallup, for the past two decades, the loser in a presidential election typically experiences a bump in support. Not so for Trump.
And unlike previous elections, Republican candidates around the country barely mentioned the law. Almost none of the top House GOP challengers mentioned it on their policy pages, while vulnerable Republican senators scrubbed anti-Obamacare language from their campaign websites.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.