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Poll: Majority Of Arizonans Have Unfavorable View Of ACA Replacement Bill

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About 60 percent of Arizonans would rather Congress fix the Affordable Care Act than repeal the entire law. Those are the findings of a new survey from Public Policy Polling commissioned by supporters of the ACA, Save My Care.

About 40 percent of those polled also had a “very unfavorable” view of the GOP’s proposed replacement — the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Another 14 percent had a "somewhat unfavorable view."

The new legislation would phase out the enhanced federal funding for Medicaid expansion in the state and drastically change the structure of the tax credits that help people in the individual market buy insurance.

For example, the Congressional Budget Office projects a 45-year-old making $22,000 a year in Arizona would see about a 340% increase in premiums under the Republican bill.

Republican strategist Jaime Molera, a partner at Molera Alvarez, says the typical Republican voter still wants a quick repeal of the health-care law.

“Ask them on Obamacare, and you would have an overwhelming negative reaction to it,” Molera said. “Republicans have to deal with their base and their base is very aggressive that this thing needs to be repealed.”

But when you start listing the possible consequences — people losing coverage or paying higher premiums — Molera says that's where it gets more difficult for some GOP supporters.

Molera ran the campaign to drum up support for Medicaid expansion in Arizona under Gov. Jan Brewer. That experience showed him Republicans do like some aspects of the ACA.

“When you had Republicans that were challenged in the primary that voted for that structure, they ended up winning,” he said. “It was against what a lot of the pundits thought when we first started. I think it’s because people saw this was a strong system.”

The poll also finds about 50 percent of Arizonans would be less likely to re-elect their members of Congress if they vote for the GOP’s proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

Molera believes Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain would not support the replacement legislation in its current form.

“I think they would say that would be too impactful and too negative for Arizona,” he said.

Gov. Doug Ducey has not taken a definitive position against or in favor of the bill, but has said he doesn’t want hundreds of thousands of people to lose coverage.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.