Nearly nine in 10 Americans say a candidate's plan for reducing healthcare costs will be an important consideration in determining their vote, and almost 40% of them, or an estimated 100 million Americans, say it could even make them cross party lines in the upcoming midterm elections, according to a new poll from West Health and Gallup.
In the nationally representative survey of more than 5,500 Americans, independents (50%) and Democrats (40%) were roughly twice more likely than Republicans (22%) to say they would vote for a candidate from a party other than their own if lowering healthcare costs was that candidate's top priority. Across racial lines, significantly more Black Americans (65%) and Hispanic Americans (60%) than White Americans (34%) say they are willing to do the same.
But even if it's not enough to sway their vote, 77% of Republicans, 85% of independents and 96% of Democrats say healthcare will be an important consideration in the next election, with Black (65%) and Hispanic Americans (60%) much more likely than White Americans (41%) to say so.
Our survey shows healthcare affordability remains on the ballot and that it could have a big influence on November's midterm elections. Clearly, candidates with a plan for lowering overall healthcare and prescription drug costs and who have an understanding for how important the issue is to voters could be rewarded."
Timothy A. Lash, President, West Health
The vast majority of Americans (86%) also report that a candidate's plan to specifically reduce the cost of prescription drugs is very or somewhat important in determining their vote, but Black and Hispanic Americans and older adults place the most importance on the matter. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Black Americans and 56% of Hispanic Americans say the issue is "very important" to their vote, compared to 40% of White Americans.
In the same survey, three-quarters of Americans (74%) or 190 million adults give a poor or failing grade to the U.S. healthcare system when it comes to affordability. Nearly one in five say they or a family member had a health problem worsen after being unable to pay for needed care and another estimated 70 million people (27%) report that if they needed quality healthcare today, they would not be able to afford it. Half the country, about 129 million people, express a lack confidence that they will be able to afford healthcare as they age.
"The survey data suggests that combating high healthcare and prescription drug costs is particularly motivating to voting blocs that can tip elections," said Dan Witters, Research Director for the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index.