There are countless chasms in the U.S. this moment in social, political, and economic perspectives. but one issue is on the mind of most American voters where there is evidence of some agreements: health care, as evidenced in the June 2018 Health Tracking Poll from Kaiser Family Foundation.
Top-line, health care is one of the most important issues that voters want addressed in the 2018 mid-term elections, tied with the economy. Immigration, gun policy, and foreign policy follow. While health care is most important to voters registered as Democrats, Republicans rank it very important.
Among various specific health care factors, protecting pre-existing conditions is highly important for voters across political party, followed by passing legislation to reduce the price of prescription drugs.
The big agreement among all voters is the high-importance placed on preserving the coverage of pre-existing conditions promised in the Affordable Care Act. Three in four voters say it’s “very important” to prevent health plans from denying coverage based on a consumer’s medical history. Seven in ten also want to prevent insurers from charging higher premiums to sick people, the KFF poll found.
Pre-existing conditions do not discriminate across party lines: 6 out of 10 people in the U.S. told KFF that someone in their home is dealing with a pre-existing condition.The second chart illustrates that Great Unified Field Theory unifying agreement between Democrats, Independents, and Republicans on pre-existing conditions.
Another unifying health care issue is prescription drug prices, which KFF has tracked for several years. Most voters across party have told previous KFF polls they believe in more government regulation or intervention on drug costs. In this June 2018 poll, KFF asked the question of whether pharma companies’ direct-to-consumer advertising should include pricing information, to which most voters across party lines say, “yes.”
For over a year, the KFF polls have tracked that one-half of voters are in favor of the ACA. While 41% of voters are unfavorable, some 8% still don’t know or can’t say how they feel about the law.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: What most U.S. health citizens agree on is fairness about health premiums and health insurance access for sick and well people, alike. The universality of chronic illness in America bonds voters together, across party lines, to demand equity and access to healthcare for the sick, unwell and healthy alike.
Prescription drug costs, too, unite Americans in anger. This week, I spoke about the Consumer Reports Anger Index when it comes to Americans’ views on health care costs.
Angry, yes: about the cost of drugs, both those charged in the hospital (in this case, $37.50 for a single Tylenol tablet given to an inpatient) and those for patients wanting to cure Hepatitis C, like the $1,000 single pill of Harvoni.
EpiPen pricing mainstreamed the issue of pharmaceutical costs as a democratized (small “d”) issue in 2016, when Mylan grew the cost of a two-pack to about $600. This caused patients, parents and caregivers outrage, and gave tremendous visibility to the issue of drug prices in the context of overall health care costs.
In not-so-unrelated pharma news, today Amazon announced its acquisition of PillPack, a company that efficiently distributes prescription drugs direct-to-consumer that’s quite consistent with Amazon’s disruptive and consumer-enchanting ecommerce model. With Amazon continuing to morph and consolidate its position and role in healthcare, watch this space. With or without government involvement in healthcare costs and regulation, private sector stakeholders such as retailers, Amazon, health plans (the innovative ones) and employers will be working on the challenge of expanding access and lowering costs for consumers.