Lowering Healthcare Costs Tops Cutting Taxes and Deregulation for Likely Voters Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
WASHINGTON, D.C. and SAN DIEGO, CA – Oct. 7, 2020 — Likely voters in seven key Senate battleground states report they are not seeking care for health problems nor are they filling their prescriptions due to the high cost of healthcare, according to a new poll from nonprofit and nonpartisan West Health and the Global Strategy Group. The poll queried 4,200 likely voters in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Montana and North Carolina.
More than a quarter (26%) of likely voters said they or their family members did not seek treatment for a health problem in the last year due to cost concerns while 22% said they couldn’t afford medications prescribed by their doctors. Another 12% or more than 4 million people witnessed a friend or family member die in the last five years because they could not afford treatment. Over half said they were concerned people in their own communities with suspected COVID-19 were not seeking medical care because of the potential costs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened people’s concerns over the high cost of healthcare and has put the issue squarely on the ballot,” said Tim Lash, Chief Strategy Officer at West Health. “For decades politicians have promised to lower costs, but these have largely been broken promises. People are frustrated and worried, and more importantly, they are getting sicker and even dying. I think this sentiment and the real-life consequences they’re experiencing from a high-priced healthcare system will color whom they vote for in the next election.”
According to the survey, about half of likely voters would prefer a public official who prioritizes reducing healthcare costs and lowering prescription drug prices over cutting taxes or deregulation (39%). Voters also count COVID-19 (31%), healthcare (27%) and the economy (30%) as the most important issues to them ahead of crime and public safety (23%), national security (23%), and the environment (21%).
More than three-quarters (77%) of likely voters say they expect healthcare costs to continue rising and many hold the belief (40%) that our healthcare system is getting worse.
The findings are from a multi-channel survey of 4,200 likely general election voters. Six hundred interviews were conducted in the following states between August 20 – 30, 2020: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Montana, and North Carolina. Interviews were conducted by live telephone and via web-based panel. Interviews conducted via web-based panel were matched back to a corresponding voter file. The confidence interval for the survey at 95% confidence interval overall is +/- 1.5%, and +/- 4% within each state. Topline data reports are available here and a data summary can be found here.
About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Learn more at www.westhealth.org and follow @westhealth.
About Global Strategy Group
Global Strategy Group is the go-to public affairs, communications, and research partner for companies, causes, and campaigns. We work with our clients to build their reputations, tackle big challenges, drive positive change, and win.