Health care continues to be the top-ranked voting issue in the U.S. looking to the November 2020 Presidential and Congressional elections.

The Kaiser Family Foundation conducts the monthly poll which gauges U.S. adults’ perspectives on health care, and this month’s January 2020 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll explores Americans’ views on broad healthcare reform plans and specific medical policy issues.

Overall, Americans point to prescription drug costs and the preservation of the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, the first chart tells us. Third and fourth on voters’ minds are protecting patients from surprise medical bills and better addressing drug addiction.

The Great Unifying Healthcare Issue in 2020 is lowering the costs of prescription drugs for “as many Americans as possible” — across all 3 political parties. Lowering Rx prices is the top health policy issue for Republicans tied with addressing the drug epidemic. For Democrats, ensuring ACA protections for pre-existing conditions holds. Independents rank the cost of medicines top of all health care priorities.

Many fewer Democrats are concerned about addressing the opioid epidemic compared lowering prescription drug costs and protecting people with pre-existing conditions via the ACA.

Although the cost of prescription drugs ranks top-of-mind and priority to people who identify as Democrat, Independent or Republican, it’s ironic that most Americans are unaware that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to address the cost of prescription drugs — the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Prices Now Act, House Bill #H.R. 3

Only 21% of the KFF poll sample knew about the passage of H.R. 3 in the poll.

Moving to the President, the KFF poll found that only 30% of Americans approved of his handling of the cost of prescription drugs, and 35% approval for how the President has dealt with protections for people with pre-existing conditions, shown in the third bar chart.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  It’s polling season (well, year) and so we can add another data point to bolster the fact that Americans are health care voters in 2020.

Protect Our Care, an advocacy group supporting health reform, commissioned the Public Policy Polling survey which was released on January 30, 2020, found that health care ranks as the top or very important issue for 68% of voters in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in deciding “who” to support in 2020. The poll was conducted among 1,867 voters between January 23-27, 2020.

That 68% was the average across the following partisan segments:

  • 66% of Independents ranking health care as a top voting issue
  • 53% of Republicans ranking health care as a top voting issue
  • 80% of Democrats ranking health care as a top voting issue.

As Kaiser Family Foundation’s report for the health tracking poll coined, “Trump’s Latest Health Care Challenge” will be “Gaining Voters’ Trust.” All other current political issues aside — impeachment, immigration, global unrest, and global economic uncertainty — health care remains up-close and very personal to most American voters.

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