Bernie Sanders, call your office: A new poll shows Americans are far less concerned that there is health care for everyone and far more concerned about health care’s affordability.
The poll, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), found 19% of respondents rated health care affordability and cost as their top concern, while only 5% chose health care/insurance for everyone. Interestingly, the highest percentage of respondents choosing affordability and cost among Independents, Republicans, and Democrats were Independents; 25% listed that choice as their top priority, as opposed to 17% of Republicans and 14% of Democrats.
Republicans and Independents were more concerned about Medicare than health care for all, indicating they were more concerned about the deleterious effects of aging and more confident that they would need lesser health care when they were young. Democrats were not as concerned about Medicare and more concerned about health care for all.
KFF reported that there were widely divergent views regarding Obamacare: “The ACA is the second most frequently mentioned health care issue among partisans, with Democrats saying they want to see Congress “protecting or improving the ACA” while Republicans say they want to see the next Congress “repealing the ACA.” Independents are divided on this issue, with similar shares saying they want to see Congress repealing and protecting the 2010 health care law.”
Last May, a report from Public Agenda also found that affordability was the key issue among Americans when it came to health care. It stated:
In recent years, a majority of Americans, regardless of party identification, say making health care affordable to individuals and families should be the top health care priority for the president and Congress. This sentiment emerged immediately in our groups as people reflected on the health care system and their experiences with it. They shared stories about facing expensive medical bills, paying for pricey prescriptions and covering burdensome copays, premiums and deductibles. They were ardent and forthright about how the high cost of health care affected their lives and their families.
A report in August detailed how health care costs had become a major problem:
Deductibles and healthcare prices are simultaneously on the rise. About four in five workers are enrolled in a plan with a deductible, and the amount they must pay for that deductible before their insurance coverage kicks in is about $1,505 for a single person, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in 2017. High deductibles are becoming more common, the research showed. More than one-half of the workers had a deductible greater than $1,000 in 2017 versus one-third of workers in 2012, researchers reported. While deductibles increase, so are healthcare prices. PwC’s Health Research Institute recently predicted medical costs to rise 6 percent in 2019.
Another report added, “Between 2006 and 2016, the average premium contribution paid by American families with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by 77 percent, from $2,973 in 2006 to $5,277 in 2016. During the same period, median household income rose by just under 19 percent, from $48,451 to $57,617.”