Thursday, October 27, 2016

Drug prices are top Obamacare issue for voters

Why Republicans don't like Obamacare (Kaiser chart)
High prescription-drug prices and other out-of-pocket costs are more important to voters than proposed changes to federal health reform, says a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Julie Rovner reports for Kaiser Health News. About 60 percent of Republican respondents still want the law repealed, but are split on why. Among that group, 31 percent said the law “gives government too big a role in the health care system,” while 27 percent said “the law is just one of many indications that President Obama took the country in the wrong direction.”

The survey of 1,205 adults this month found that 70 percent said they understand Hillary Clinton's health care plan very well or somewhat well, but only 51 percent said the same of Donald Trump. Most respondents didn't rank health care high for the most important issue in who they were voting for president. It came in fifth among Democratic respondents, at 9 percent, and sixth among Republicans, at 5 percent. The most important issue for Democrats was the candidates, while the economy and jobs was No. 1 for Republicans. (Pie charts: how well respondents said they understood Clinton and Trump health-care plans)
The biggest response to 13 questions about health-care priorities was "Making sure that high-cost drugs for chronic conditions, such as HIV, hepatitis, mental illness and cancer, are affordable to those who need them," with 74 percent of respondents agreeing. Also, 63 percent agreed that "Government action to lower prescription drug prices" should be a high priority.

Making sure health-insurance plans have enough provider networks of doctors and hospitals ranked third. Also ranking high were protecting people from high costs from seeing a doctor not covered by their plan, and providing quality information on health care provided by doctors and hospitals; the price of doctors’ visits; tests and procedures; and which doctors and hospitals are covered under plans.

"As with the health law itself, semantics matter in this debate over whether to include a government plan to compete with private plans," Rovner writes. "Even in describing the same concept, a much larger majority (70 percent) favored the idea of 'creating a public health insurance option to compete with private health insurance plans' than favored 'creating a government-administered public health insurance option to compete with private health insurance plans' (53 percent)." (Read more)

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