More Americans are worried about their out-of-pocket health care costs than they are about repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health Tracking Poll published 6th January 2017, the first KFF poll for the new year.
Cost worries fall into two buckets of concerns: the cost of health care, and the cost of prescription drugs. Managing the opioid epidemic falls in third place after health care costs.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act? It’s #4 on Americans’ health care priorities as of mid-December 2016, followed by shrinking the Federal’s government’s role in and spending on health care.
By party affiliation, shown in the second chart, a majority of Republicans (two-thirds) favors repealing the ACA and lowering health care costs at the top of their health care priority list. For most Democrats and Independents, it’s costs and costs — healthcare and prescription drugs.
62% of all Americans favor the U.S. government guaranteeing a level of health coverage and financial help for seniors and lower-income Americans — even if this results in more Federal health spending and “bigger” government. Favoring government guarantee for health care varies by party identification, with 8 in 10 Democrats and 65% of Independents supporting government-guaranteed healthcare. Only 38% of Republicans favor this approach.
People with pre-existing conditions, or those with family members who are ill, have more clinical skin-in-this game: significantly more of these health citizens with pre-existing conditions worry about their ability to afford needed health care, and about losing their health insurance.
KFF polled 1,204 U.S. adults 18 and older between December 13-19, 2016 for this survey.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: As President Trump takes on the mantle of Healthcare Policymaker-in-Chief, he might attend to the “Affordable” adjective in the ACA in replacing what he may seek to repeal. Consumers’ out-of-pocket costs for care and prescription drugs are top-of-mind for US health citizens.
Disdain for the high cost of many prescription drugs are certainly a mass American emotion, as discussed here in Health Populi. Martin Shkreli and EpiPen pricing have places in U.S. healthcare consumer consciousness these days, with stories covered beyond trade and business publications in media such as People magazine and USA Today.
A previous KFF Health Tracking Poll conducted in September 2016 found that three-quarters of Americans felt the cost of prescription drugs was “unreasonable,” shown in the pie chart. Politically, President Trump could please the bulk of Americans focusing on this aspect of health care cost management, quite separate from an immediate repeal of the ACA.
Postscript, the morning after writing this post: In Donald Trump’s press conference yesterday, he spoke of pharma companies, “getting away with murder” when it comes to drug prices. Perhaps the President-Elect is already on the path to prescription drug price reform. Read more about Trump’s opinions on drug copmanies here in Health Populi as he was interviewed on the topic in TIME magazine — “You Better Watch Out, You’d Better Not Cry, Pharma: Donald Trump is Coming to Town.”