LA Times poll: Votes on tax bill and health care could doom Republicans

Congressman Steve Knight and House Speaker Paul Ryan

A new poll shows California voters are less likely to support members of Congress who supported the unpopular tax bill or Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Voters are not pleased with California Republicans who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to enact the unpopular tax bill, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll. While there is an expected partisan difference in answers to poll questions, the poll found “about half of independents said they would be less likely to reelect their member of Congress for voting to repeal Obamacare or supporting the tax bill.”

By a staggering 26-point margin, voters are less likely to support a member of Congress who voted to end the Affordable Care Act. A majority (54 percent) hold this view, while only 28 percent say the vote to dismantle the popular health care law would make them more likely to support a candidate. Every single California Republican, including vulnerable incumbents like Reps. Steve Knight (Palmdale), Dana Rohrabacher (Costa Mesa) and Mimi Walters (Irvine), voted to end the Affordable Care Act.

Even though Republican efforts to completely do away with the ACA failed, the policies championed by Knight, Rohrabacher, and Walters would have had devastating effects for Californians.

The bill dramatically reduced protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. According to Politifact, “Insurers would be able 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.

The bill also contained an “age tax” that would have caused major headaches for older Californians. A provision in the bill gave insurance companies an opening to steeply increase premiums for people between the ages of 50 and 64, an increase the AARP called an “unfair and unacceptable ‘age tax.'”

Despite their failure on this bill, Republican policies are still wreaking havoc on the health care of Americans. Republican sabotage efforts have already resulted in four million Americans losing health insurance. And for Californians, premiums next year are set to increase by double-digits, thanks in large part to Republican policies.

The tax bill is almost as toxic, with a mere 21 percent of California voters more likely to support someone who voted for it. Once again, a majority (52 percent) are less likely to support members like Reps. Knight and Walters, who both supported the bill.

“The tax law seems like a more poignant campaign issue since Californians remain deeply skeptical about it,” writes the LA Times. “The law is expected to disproportionately impact high-tax, expensive states like California because of caps on the state and local tax and mortgage interest deductions.”

An analysis by California’s Franchise Tax Board shows about a million Californians are on the hook for an additional $12 billion in taxes next year.

According to one estimate, homeowners in Orange County, home of Walters, can expect up to $4,500 in higher taxes this year. For Los Angeles-area homeowners, the cost of a 30-year mortgage will increase by up to $76,000.

“Californians specifically are feeling the brunt of much of the Republican agenda on their pocketbooks,” said Drew Godinich, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

While some Californians are hit with a higher tax bill, wealthy Wall Street investors are reaping the benefits as rich corporations shower them with record-breaking stock buybacks and dividends.

Back on Main Street, most workers aren’t seeing any change in their paycheck.

The poll shows that Californians are seeing through Republican spin, and looking squarely at reality: Republicans in Congress are responsible for both higher health care premiums and higher taxes.