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

February 19,2020

By Adam Cancryn


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.

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.”

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