The High Cost of U.S. Healthcare Is on Voters’ Minds
By Sarah Fioroni
October 20, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly nine in 10 Americans rate a candidate’s plan for reducing healthcare prices as very or somewhat important to their vote choice in the upcoming midterm elections. In fact, 39% say it is very or somewhat likely that they would cross party lines to vote for a candidate who makes reducing healthcare costs their top priority, according to a new poll from West Health and Gallup. (See full results in the West Health-Gallup 2022 Healthcare in America Report).
Democrats, Black and Hispanic Americans More Focused on Affordable Healthcare
Majorities across party lines say a candidate’s plan to reduce the cost of healthcare is very or somewhat important to their vote choice. Although Democrats are more likely than independents and Republicans to agree, with 57% rating healthcare affordability as very important, about three in 10 Republicans also report that reducing the cost of healthcare is very important. Combined, 77% of Republicans say this issue is very or somewhat important in determining their vote, along with 85% of independents and 96% of Democrats.
Black and Hispanic Americans are also much more likely than White Americans to report that a candidate’s plan to reduce the cost of healthcare services is very important in determining their vote. Sixty-five percent of Black and 60% of Hispanic Americans say this, compared with 41% of White Americans. Women are slightly more likely than men to say reducing costs is very important to their vote (52% compared with 43%, respectively).
Democrats are more likely than Republicans (40% versus 22%) to say they are very or somewhat likely to vote for a candidate from the opposing party who prioritizes reducing healthcare costs. But that number rises to 50% among independents. As of September 2022, 43% of Americans consider themselves independent in Gallup’s national polling. This is a significant proportion of the voting population that could be swayed toward either party if a candidate prioritized reducing costs.
Black Americans are more likely than White (and Hispanic and Asian) Americans to say they are very or somewhat likely to vote for a candidate from a party other than their own if reducing healthcare costs was that person’s top priority (57% compared with 34%, respectively).
Reducing Cost of Prescriptions Critical to Americans 65+, Regardless of Party
A majority of Americans (86%) report that a candidate’s plan to reduce the cost of prescription drugs is very or somewhat important in determining their vote. This is especially true for Americans aged 65 and older. Fifty-two percent of seniors say reducing the cost of medication is very important, compared with 45% of those aged 50 to 64 and 44% of adults under 50.
This higher reported importance among older adults holds regardless of political party affiliation. Republicans aged 65 and older are nearly twice as likely to report that a candidate’s plan is very important in determining their vote than are Republicans under 50 (46% to 24%, respectively). Sixty percent of Democrats 65 and older say a candidate’s plan to reduce costs is very important, compared with 48% of Democrats under 50. There are few differences across age groups for independents.
Black and Hispanic Americans place a much higher importance on reducing the cost of prescription drugs than White Americans do. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Black Americans and 56% of Hispanic Americans consider the issue very important in determining their vote, compared with 40% of White Americans.