In my last blog on December 7, I argued that former President Donald Trump gave Democrats an issue to run on in 2024 when he stated on two occasions that he wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I argued that the Republican party has a “compassion gap” and Trump signaling he would repeal the ACA widens that gap and gives a leg up to the Democrats.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll showed that the ACA was a very important issue for about half of those surveyed and that about a third of Republican voters felt that way. In general, on healthcare issues, the poll underscored that voters may trust the Democrats more.
As I noted, my blog was published on December 7 and later that day a new poll was published that underscores my views.
The poll had 2,000 respondents and was conducted by the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future. This group brings health plans, drug makers, providers, and advocates together. Principally, the group sought to stop the passage of Medicare for All, an admirable goal in my view. Basing our healthcare future on a transactional system rife with waste, fraud, and abuse would be more costly not less and likely lower our already poor outcomes.
The survey covered broad healthcare reform topics, including the ACA and other major reform initiatives. The main findings:
- Three-quarters of those surveyed want to improve the current healthcare system and keep the Affordable Care Act in place, rather than throwing it out in favor of a national public option or Medicare for All.
- Only 32% of voters and only 44% of Republican voters said they support repealing the ACA.
- Premium subsidies in the ACA have been enhanced through the end of 2025 and have driven millions to enroll in the Exchanges, pushing enrollment nationwide to the highest level yet. When asked if ACA subsidies should be extended, 60% said they should (41% of Republicans favored this).
Several other notable findings from the survey:
- About 64% said Medicare should begin at the age of sixty instead of 65.
- About 44% of swing voters polled support Medicare for All.
- About 47% support a public option, though costs over the long term would be a concern, and just 29% support a public option over improving the current system. Further, a majority of voters do not want to pay more in taxes for a public option.
- About 47% of respondents believe those who fall into a coverage gap in states that did not expand Medicaid should receive coverage through a government program. This would solve a huge disparity for millions in ten states where Medicaid was not expanded, making these folks “too rich” for Medicaid but “too poor” for Exchange subsidies. (Georgia has a partial expansion.)
- A majority would be less likely to vote for a lawmaker who supports creating a new government-run health insurance system funded by higher taxes or cuts to doctors and hospitals.
- Almost three-quarters of Democrats and Republicans said that reducing costs is their top priority with regard to healthcare.
- About 70% said they were satisfied with their current plan.
- About 61% said they trust the free market more than the federal government to manage healthcare.
- Healthcare policy ranked fourth in terms of important issues.
In the end, the survey shows a very mature outlook on healthcare reform by voters. While they want changes, they believe the current system, including the ACA, should remain and are worried about wholesale changes.
In addition, voters are proving to be the ultimate moderates on healthcare, to the right of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party endorsing Medicare for All and a public option and to the left of right-wing Republicans seeking to repeal the ACA and devolve a great deal of coverage to states. Voters, too, clearly believe in affordable universal access given their stand on keeping the ACA but also looking for ways to lower costs in the system.
While voters have a mature outlook on healthcare, Capitol Hill remains mired in extremist healthcare politics. Yes, there are healthcare bills swirling around that might get passed. But these bills do not amount to substantial healthcare reform. It amounts to tinkering at the fringes. The only vocal healthcare reform advocates on the Democratic side are the progressives pushing for Medicare for All. From the GOP, you hear little to nothing beyond repealing the ACA from the rightists. I have to believe there are moderate views in each party that match what the electorate has said in this survey. The sad truth, though, is they have no power.
#aca #obamacare #exchanges #medicaid #medicare #trump #desantis #biden #healthcare #healthcarereform #healthinsurance #coverage #universalaccess #affordableaccess
— Marc S. Ryan