* Survey shows Americans split on healthcare law
* Independents, Democrats back continued funding
* Mixed views on mandate to buy medical insurance
By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON, Jan 25 Most Americans do not want
Congress to block funding for various new healthcare measures
even as the nation remains split on the sweeping overhaul
passed last year, a poll published on Tuesday found.
More than half of those surveyed -- 62 percent -- said they
did not approve of lawmakers cutting off funds needed to
implement changes, which range from new rules for health
insurance companies to tax credits for small businesses and
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives this
month passed legislation that would repeal the healthcare
reform law signed by President Barack Obama last year, but the
Senate is not expected to act on that bill. House Republicans
say they now will try to disrupt the flow of money needed to
implement the law. [ID:nN20178877]
Thirty-three percent said they backed funding attacks,
according to the poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation and
Harvard School of Public Health.
The results show that even those who may not like the bill
overall don't see targeting funding as the best way forward.
"The public is frustrated with politics as usual, and may
be saying that defunding a law is not how government should
work," Mollyann Brodie, head of Kaiser's Public Opinion and
Survey Research group, said in a statement.
The law, a cornerstone of Obama's domestic agenda, faces
tough challenges in Congress and the courts as both political
parties jockey for position ahead of the 2012 presidential
It aims to expand access to health insurance for roughly 30
million currently uninsured Americans while cracking down on
unpopular insurance industry practices that have denied people
Ramifications across the sector have been widespread,
affecting Aetna Inc (AET.N), WellPoint Inc WLP.N and other
health insurers as well as drugmakers, device companies,
hospitals and others.
Researchers, who polled about 1,500 U.S. adults in early
January, found that overall Americans are divided largely along
partisan lines as to what should be done about the law, with
most Republicans supporting repealing it and possibly replacing
it and Democrats urging to maintain or expand it.
The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives last week
voted to repeal the law but the measure is not likely to be
taken up by the Democratically-controlled Senate. Obama has
promised to veto it.
Republican leaders are now pushing for medical liability
reforms and allowing insurers to sell policies across state
lines, among other measures and have vowed ongoing hearings.
While those polled largely backed expanding health coverage
among low income Americans through subsidies, the federal-state
Medicaid program and employer mandates, they did not support
making people to purchase a plan -- a rule now facing multiple
legal challenges. [ID:nN20115665].
Three-quarters of those polled didn't support the
requirement to buy a health insurance plan starting in 2014 or
face a fine, although most changed their minds when asked
follow up question about insurers who deny coverage to those
who have a pre-existing medical condition.
But specific provisions that have already been implemented
such as cheaper medicines for Medicare patients and rules
forcing insurers to spend a certain amount on medical care were
still largely favored, according to the poll, which was
conducted Jan. 4-14 and has a margin of error of 3 percentage
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)