Republican changes to health care policies championed by members of Congress like Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) are hurting voters’ health care coverage more than helping it, according to a new CBS poll of voters in 64 battleground congressional districts.
One in 4 voters say that Republican health care changes have hurt their own health care coverage and costs, compared to a paltry 1 in 10 who said the changes are helpful. Even among Republicans, fewer than 1 in 5 voters say the health care changes have been helpful.
In 2017, Walters joined all California Republicans in voting for the Trump-Paul Ryan Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That bill would have caused more than four million Californians to lose their health insurance, wreaking havoc on California residents.
The Republican bill deliberately weakened protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. In fact, Politifact reported at the time that Walters and Republicans fought hard to allow insurers “to charge people significantly more if they had a pre-existing condition like heart disease, cancer, diabetes or arthritis — possibly requiring people to pay thousands of dollars extra every year to remain insured.”
Walters also voted for an “age tax” to be applied to elderly Californians who were too young to be on Medicare. The bill contained a provision allowing insurance companies to charge people between the ages of 50 and 64 up to five times what they can charge younger consumers, an added expense the AARP called an “unfair and unacceptable ‘age tax.'”
Even though AHCA failed to become law, Republicans still managed to include detrimental health care provisions in the unpopular tax bill. Those provisions are responsible for most of the health insurance premium increases proposed by Covered California.
Republican sabotage of health care policies, even though not as draconian as Walters wanted, have still caused four million Americans to lose access to health insurance. And voters, as the CBS poll shows, are noticing.
In fact, voters want to hear more about health care from congressional candidates. A majority of independents, Democrats, and Republicans want to hear candidates talk about health care “a lot,” according to the CBS poll.
Numerous other polls regularly show health care to be a top concern of voters in 2018. And that may not be good news for Republicans, according to Protect Our Care, a group fighting to preserve and improve the Affordable Care Act.
“Republicans will bear self-inflicted wounds because of the party’s obsession with repealing and sabotaging health care instead of working on bipartisan solutions to address skyrocketing costs,” says Brad Woodhouse, campaign director of Protect Our Care. “Today’s numbers show that constituents of all political stripes are paying close attention to the fallout of the Republican war on health care.”
When Walters was campaigning in 2016, she vowed to make health care “better” for Californians. Yet her votes and preferred policies have helped make health care harder to obtain, and more expensive.