Candidates’ positions on health care costs may prompt voters to cross party lines: Gallup


By Zach Schonfeld

October 20, 2022

Nearly 4 in 10 Americans would vote for a candidate from a political party they don’t usually support if lowering health care costs is the candidate’s top priority, according to a new West Health-Gallup survey.

The poll found 87 percent of respondents indicated a candidate’s plan for cutting health care costs is at least somewhat important to them in deciding who to vote for, with majorities of both Republicans and Democrats surveyed saying so.

But the survey found a partisan split when respondents were asked how likely they were to vote across party lines over the issue, with 40 percent of Democrats polled indicating they were at least somewhat likely to do so compared to 22 percent of Republicans.

Broken down by demographics, women and minority voters were more likely to express a willingness to cross party lines to vote for a candidate prioritizing the reduction of health care costs.

A majority of Black respondents — 57 percent — said so, followed by 49 percent of Asian respondents, 45 percent of Hispanic respondents and 34 percent of white respondents.

Democrats have attempted to gain ground with voters on health issues, hoping provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that limit the price of insulin to $35 per month for Medicare recipients and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices will energize voters.

A number of Democratic candidates have also raised concerns that Republicans will cut Social Security and Medicare.

They point to an 11-point plan released in February by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who leads Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, that included sunsetting all federal legislation in five years. Scott has said “no one that I know of wants to sunset Medicare or Social Security.”

House Republicans, meanwhile, included a promise to “save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare” with no specifics in their “Commitment to America” agenda.

The new poll found 2 in 3 Americans under the age of 65, when Medicare kicks in, are worried the program won’t be there for them when they reach eligibility.

Three in 4 Americans under the age of 62, when citizens can begin opting to receive Social Security benefits, expressed worry in the poll that the program won’t exist by time they reach that age.

Those figures suggested majorities of those surveyed in both parties have worries about the programs’ solvencies, with Democrats being slightly more likely to express concern.

This year, a Social Security Trustees Report indicated the program’s trust fund reserves are expected to be depleted in 2035, and a Medicare Trustees Report this year estimates that Medicare’s Hospital Insurance trust fund will run out of funding in 2028.

The survey was conducted between June 21 and June 30 with 5,584 U.S. adults. The margin of error for questions involving the entire sample is 1.6 percentage points.

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