February 19,2020

ICYMI: POLITICO-Harvard Poll: Health Care Costs Are Top Priority Heading Into Elections

By Adam Cancryn
The vast majority of Americans rank cutting health care and prescription drug costs as their top priorities heading into election season, regardless of party affiliation, according to a new POLITICO-Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health survey.
Those topics polled as far more important than passing a major health system overhaul like “Medicare for All” or taking aggressive action to address climate change, suggesting Americans are concerned with immediate problems facing their families and friends rather than sweeping policy changes.
“Even among Democrats, the top issues are pocketbook issues — not the big system reform debates,” said Robert Blendon, a Harvard professor of health policy and political analysis who helped design the poll. “They’re worried about their own lives, their own payments, and what they can afford.”
Roughly 80 percent of those surveyed ranked “taking steps to lower the cost of health care” as “extremely” or “very” important, including 89 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of Republicans. Reducing prescription-drug costs saw similar support at 75 percent, with majorities in both parties ranking it as extremely or very important.
“These are people who are not thinking policy wise — they’re thinking about things that they or their friends have read, about how things are outrageously expensive,” Blendon said of 2020 voters. “There’s no need to get in a fight over who has the best big plan for the future.”
“If you’re going to have a general election in eight months, you better be talking about something beyond hearings we should’ve had in the impeachment trial,” Blendon said of the takeaway. “Health care will be a real, live issue.”