Sep 5, 2018

Poll: Plenty of blame to go around for high health costs

Health care costs remain a leading issue ahead of this year’s midterms, and voters have plenty of blame to go around, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest tracking poll.


Data: Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll of 1,201 U.S. adults, Aug. 23-28, 2018. Margin of error ±3 percentage points; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

What they're saying: Kaiser asked its respondents whether certain factors are a “major reason” health care costs are rising. (There could be multiple “major reasons.”)

  • Blame for the potential political culprits — the ACA and the Trump administration — was split about evenly.
  • But there’s a broader bipartisan agreement that industry is to blame: At least 70% faulted drug companies, hospitals and insurers. Doctors caught a break, at 49%.

Partisanship reigns, though, on the question of whether President Trump will help.

  • A mere 13% of Democrats are at least somewhat confident that Americans will pay less for prescription drugs under the Trump administration, compared with a whopping 83% of Republicans. Independents generally share Democrats’ skepticism.
  • Roughly a quarter of Democrats, and roughly two-thirds of Republicans, think Trump’s public criticism of drug companies will help bring down prices.

Surprise hospital bills haven’t attracted the same political uproar as prescription drug costs, but the Kaiser poll provides more reason to believe they could be the next big controversy.

  • 67% said they’re “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about being unable to pay a surprise medical bill, while 53% fear they won’t be able to pay their deductible and 45% are afraid of the tab for their prescription drugs.
  • 39% experienced a surprise bill in the past year.

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