Mon Jul 17, 2017 03:24PM
US President Barack Obama smiles as he speaks to journalists during his last news conference of 2016.
US President Barack Obama smiles as he speaks to journalists during his last news conference of 2016.

US Republicans are striving to pass a bill that would overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, but a new poll shows that a majority of Americans oppose the GOP legislation.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll, released on Monday, shows 50 percent prefer Obamacare while only 24 percent prefer the Republican health plan, also called Trumpcare. Thirteen percent of respondents said they like neither.  

The Republican bill is aimed at fulfilling President Donald Trump's pledge to repeal Obamacare, the signature health insurance achievement of former Democratic President Barack Obama, which covers some 20 million Americans.

In the contentious congressional vote of Trump's presidency, lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted 217 to 213 in May to pass the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill, called the American Health Care Act of 2017.  

After weeks of wrangling, Senate Republicans unveiled a revised version of their healthcare bill on Thursday, with GOP leaders planning a vote, or at least a procedural one, in the upcoming week. The Senate version is called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

The GOP bill faces an uncertain passage in the 100-member Senate, where Republicans have a very narrow majority – 52 to 48. Republican Senators Rand Paul and Susan Collins have already voiced objection to the motion. Moreover, Republican Senator John McCain is recovering from surgery in hospital. He will not be able to vote.

A protester holds a sign during a demonstration of Democratic Senators to oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and its replacement on Capitol Hill, on June 21, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

The Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that about 60 percent of Democrats and a third of independents strongly prefer Obamacare. Only 43 percent of Republicans strongly prefer  the GOP proposal.

The survey shows that only 59 percent of Republican voters support the GOP bill, while 11 percent support Obamacare. The remaining 30 percent said they have no preference between Obamacare and Trumpcare.  

Sixty-three percent of the respondents said it is more important for the Trump administration to provide healthcare to low-income people rather than cutting taxes.     

If approved, the Republican healthcare bill would repeal most of the taxes that paid for Obamacare, except for two placed on high earners.

The GOP proposal also rolls back the federal government's funding of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which assisted an additional 15 million low-income Americans in 31 states get health coverage.