Arkansans disapprove of ‘repeal now, replace later’ approach to healthcare reform

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,256 views 

Arkansas voters oppose a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare immediately and wait two years to find a replacement plan.

The latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey of more than 500 Arkansas voters tested this effort and asked an additional question about Medicaid expansion and the Arkansas Works program.

Q: Senate Republicans have discussed a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act now and replace it two years from now with a yet-to-be-determined plan. Do you support or oppose this?

30% Support
52% Oppose
18% Don’t Know

Q: Should the federal healthcare plan retain money for Medicaid expansion as used in Arkansas for the Arkansas Works program, formerly called the private option?

36% Yes
20% No
44% Don’t know

The statewide survey was conducted on Thursday, July 20, 2017 and had 511 Arkansas voter respondents. The poll has a margin of error of 4.3%.

“The ‘repeal now, replace later’ plan seems pretty unpopular in Arkansas, even as Arkansans have consistently had negative views on the Affordable Care Act and as the issue of Obamacare has lifted Republicans into the majority party across the state,” said Roby Brock, Editor-in-Chief for Talk Business & Politics. “Like we’ve seen nationally, healthcare reform will present tricky waters for Arkansas’ politicians to navigate.”

Dr. Jay Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix College, helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:

In terms of public policy debates, the most visible issue during the early Trump months have been ongoing efforts in Congress to replace the Affordable Care Act, i.e. Obamacare. With previous GOP plans gone awry, one of the latest concepts discussed in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate is a strategy of repealing Obamacare entirely with a two year delay to allow the Congress to determine a replacement plan. We polled this concept with Arkansas voters and, like voters across the country, a majority (52%) opposes it while only 30% of respondents support it.

The sole group of voters supportive of the “repeal and delay” approach are Republicans; a plurality (46%) of GOP voters do endorse it. While pluralities of Independents (44% opposition) and men (48% opposition) oppose the idea, healthy majorities of other political, demographic, and geographic groups more emphatically oppose the concept.

While voters are clear in their dubiousness about the “repeal and delay” plan, they are less clear regarding the importance of Medicaid expansion remaining part of an Obamacare replacement plan.

Among those who have a clear opinion, the future Medicaid expansion in Arkansas (now called Arkansas Works) is supported by a nearly two-to-one margin (36% to 20%). However, a plurality of the sample (44%) remains unclear regarding their support for Medicaid expansion moving forward. Arkansans do seem to agree with President Trump that healthcare is, indeed, complicated.

A partial video interview with Dr. Barth can be found at the bottom of this post.

This survey was conducted on Thursday, July 20, 2017. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-4.3%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 511 Arkansas voters statewide.

Age and gender were weighted. The results of weighting did not alter the raw data results by more than one percentage point in any direction.

Age (weighted)
12%  Under the age of 30
24% Between the ages of 30 and 44
39% Between the ages of 45 and 64
24% 65 or older

10% African-American
1% Asian-American
1% Latino
78%  Caucasian or White
10%  Other

Party Identification
35.5% Democratic
37% Republican
23% Independent
4.5% Other

Gender (weighted)
48% Male
52% Female

All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.

For interviews, contact Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock by email at [email protected] or Dr. Jay Barth by email at [email protected].