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The more Trump talks about health care, the more popular Obamacare gets

Donald Trump has made Obamacare more popular than Barack Obama ever did.

“The disaster known as Obamacare” was a popular applause line on the campaign trail last year, but that rallying cry has lost its effect in the months since the election. Instead, Trump’s and the congressional Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have only made it more popular: In the five months since Trump’s election victory, public approval of Obama’s health care reform has surged from just 42 percent to an all-time high of 55 percent, according to Gallup. It’s the first time the polling firm found a majority of Americans supporting the law; its popularity peaked in 2012 at only 48 percent.

The tremendous turnaround in the law’s popularity appears to be at least in part in reaction to the new president, who has spent much of his first 75 days in office calling for its repeal. That polling will also almost certainly frustrate the White House’s efforts this week to restart negotiations on an Obamacare replacement.

A potential cause is that conservative groups like the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth are redirecting their money and influence to lobbying Republicans on replacement options, rather than spending millions in ads opposing Obamacare.

People’s lives also depend on access to health care, and the GOP’s talk of upending the current system could push more people to support the status quo, even if they previously opposed it. While Obamacare approval may have grown, 62 percent of Americans still believes the country is on the wrong track when it comes to health care, an April 2017 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found.

The same poll also found that the majority of voters will hold Trump responsible for not fixing problems with the current system — in response to the prompt of whether President Obama and Democrats or President Trump and Republicans are responsible for “any problems with [Obamacare] moving forward,” 61 percent of respondents pointed to Trump.