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Public opinion divided on health care reform

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Americans, by political affiliation, are deeply divided on what they think Congress should do to the health care reform law, according to a new poll.

Twenty-six percent of individuals responding to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, which was released Thursday, and who identified themselves as Republicans said the Affordable Care Act should be repealed and not replaced, while 34% said the ACA should be repealed and replaced by a Republican-sponsored alternative.

In addition, 21% of GOP respondents said lawmakers should build on the ACA to improve the affordability and access to care and 9% back universal coverage through a single-payer government program.

By contrast, just 8% of Democratic respondents back repealing the ACA, while a majority — 54% — say Congress should work to improve the health care reform law and 33% support a single-payer health care system.

Respondents, based on their political affiliation, also are divided whether it is time to shift focus away from the health care reform law and move on to other issues.

For example, 59% of Democratic respondents said the country should focus more on other issues, and 38% said it is important for the country to continue the debate over the health care reform law.

On the other hand, fewer Republican respondents — 40% — said the country's focus should shift away from the ACA, while 58% said it is important to continue the debate over the health care reform law.

The telephone survey of 1,202 individuals was conducted between Feb. 10-18.