Poll: Majority of Americans Blame Obama, Not Trump, for State of Health Care Ahead of 2018 Midterms

In this Aug. 6, 2013, file photo. President Barack Obama laughs as the crowd sings him "Happy Birthday" at the start of his speech about housing at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. The man who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is more than just another famous face, or the …
AP/Jacquelyn Martin

A majority of Americans blame former President Barack Obama, not President Donald Trump, for the current state of health care and Obamacare in the final weeks of the 2018 midterms, according to a poll released on Friday.

As America approaches the final weeks of the November midterm elections, a majority of Americans across the aisle hold Obama primarily responsible for the current state of health care in America, signaling a significant shift in which a majority of Democrats and Independents’ now blame, or credit, the former Democrat president for the current state of health care.

In October, 56 percent of registered voters blamed Obama for the state of health care, 20 percent remain unsure who deserves the blame, and 24 percent of voters said President Trump serves as the most significant factor in the current state of health care.

Fifty-three percent of Democrats said Obama was primarily responsible for the state of health care, compared to 53 percent of Independents, and 59 percent of Republicans who also primarily blamed Obama for the current state of health care.

In contrast, 29 percent of Democrats blamed Trump, 24 percent of Independents blamed Trump, while only 21 percent of Republicans said Trump has the primary blame for America’s health care system.

In March 2018, 44 percent of all voters said that Obama was most responsible for the state of health care, 28 percent did not know who was to blame, while 28 percent blamed Trump. This increase represents a 12-point swing towards blaming Obama for the current state of health care, thanks to a rise in Democrats and Independents presumably crediting Obama for the state of health care.

Wendy Whitman Cobb, a political scientist at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, said that a growing number of voters that blamed Obama for the current state of health care suggested that Democrats have attempted to cast themselves as the party of health care.

“They’re branding themselves as the party that’s going to save your health care, because the Republicans supposedly want to take it away,” Whitman Cobb said. “They’re running towards the ACA and health care to claim it as their own.”

Meanwhile, Doug Badger, a health scholar the Heritage Foundation, said that Americans tend to conflate the American health care system with Obamacare, therefore, voters happy with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will likely credit Obama.

Badger also said that Republicans likely blamed Obama as a criticism of Obamacare and the skyrocketing premiums and deductibles that came after the enactment of the ACA.

Badger said, “People who are inclined to say that they like the ACA are going to credit Obama, and those who criticize the ACA are not going to blame Trump.”

After Senate Democrats failed to block the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and Republican enthusiasm in the 2018 midterms surged, Democrats pivoted towards health care and have attacked Republicans over their alleged plans to repeal protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. The Democrat pivot to Obamacare represents a Haily Mary in the final weeks of the midterm elections as they try to retake the House of Representatives amidst tightening polls.

Despite the Democrat attacks against the GOP on their supposed plans to repeal pre-existing conditions, most Republicans and President Trump’s contended that they will not rescind protections for pre-existing conditions.

Whitman Cobb contended Republicans have attempted to walk a “fine line” between protecting pre-existing conditions while promising to repeal Obamacare.

While Democrats have attempted to attack Republicans over their alleged plans to repeal pre-existing conditions, they have not touted the Obamacare’s other legacy—skyrocketing costs.

Under Obamacare, individual market premiums more than doubled from $2,784 in 2013 to $5,712, which represents an increase of 105 percent.

In contrast, during Trump’s presidency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that average premium for Obamacare plans on the Federal exchange will drop by 1.5 percent in 2019, the first drop in premiums since Obamacare’s implementation.

States such as Tennessee and Pennsylvania will see a more dramatic drop in premiums, and Americans will experience greater health insurer participation in 2019 as well. Further, thanks to President Trump’s executive orders on health care, Americans will have more affordable health care choices compared to Obamacare with short-term health care plans and Association Health Plans (AHPs).

Thanks to the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Republicans managed to repeal the Obamacare individual mandate, which represents a significant middle-class tax cut, considering that 80 percent of those paying the Obamacare individual mandate penalty made less than $50,000 a year.

President Donald Trump tweeted in October that Republicans will continue to protect pre-existing conditions, while Democrats will destroy Medicare in their attempt to create a $38 trillion, single-payer, socialized medicine scheme for the country.

“All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them,” Trump wrote. “I am in total support. Also, Democrats will destroy your Medicare, and I will keep it healthy and well!”

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