Poll: Healthcare is the issue that won’t go away

Dec. 22, 2017

As President Donald Trump completes his first year in office, Americans are increasingly concerned about healthcare, and their faith that government can fix it has fallen.

A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 48% named healthcare as a top problem for the government to focus on in the next year, up 17 points in the last two years.

The poll allows Americans to name up to five priorities and found a wide range of top concerns, including taxes, immigration, and the environment. But aside from healthcare, no single issue was named by more than 31%.

And 7 in 10 of those who named healthcare as a top problem said they had little to no confidence that government can improve matters. The public was less pessimistic in last year’s edition of the poll, when just over half said they lacked confidence in the problem-solving ability of lawmakers and government institutions.

GOP legislation to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s healthcare law failed in Congress, although the tax bill scraps the Obama requirement that most people get health insurance. Bloodied on both sides, Republicans and Democrats seem to have battled to an uneasy draw on health care.

Meanwhile, conflicting policy signals from Washington, including an abrupt White House decision to cancel insurer subsidies, roiled insurance markets. Premiums on health plans purchased by individuals jumped by double digits. Progress reducing the number of uninsured stalled, and one major survey found an uptick this year.

Three in 10 Americans listed taxes among their top priorities, about double the percentage who said that last year. About a quarter mentioned immigration, and just under 2 in 10 mentioned environmental issues and education. Meanwhile, concerns about unemployment plunged to 14%, about half the mentions as last year.

Healthcare was by far the top issue mentioned by Democrats and independents. Republicans were about equally likely to mention immigration, healthcare, and taxes.

Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say they have little to no confidence that the government will make progress on healthcare, 84% to 57%.

The reason healthcare doesn’t fade away is that costs aren’t getting any more manageable, said some people who took part in the AP-NORC survey.

The AP-NORC poll surveyed 1,444 adults from Nov. 11-Dec. 4 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Interviews were conducted online and using landlines and cellphones.

Medical Xpress has the full article

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