Ipsos survey shows concern over paying for health care

Consumers for Quality Care, Ipsos Survey, March 13-25, 2018

From the executive summary

* Americans are acutely worried about paying for health care – even more than they worry about costs associated with retirement, college, housing, or child care.

* What people pay is the main pain point: Americans are more concerned about premiums, deductibles, and co-pays than they are about access to care or quality of care.

* When asked who is responsible for their out-of-pocket costs, Americans mostly blame insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the federal government.

Q20: I am going to read you a series of statements. For each one, please tell me if it makes you more or less likely to support a candidate for Congress.

Would vote for candidates who support...

Health care companies disclosing costs
84% - Democrats
84% - Republicans
83% - Independents

Lowering out-of-pocket costs for Rx drugs
83% - Democrats
85% - Republicans
80% - Independents

Passing pharma discounts to customers
80% - Democrats
83% - Republicans
84% - Independents

Improving and funding Obamacare
77% - Democrats
15% - Republicans
52% - Independents

Repealing Obamacare
28% - Democrats
68% - Republicans
48% - Independents

Single-payer health care
59% - Democrats
44% - Republicans
53% - Independents



By Don McCanne, M.D.

This Ipsos survey confirms that Americans are still very much concerned about health care costs. What is perhaps of more interest here is what people think we should do about it.

There is still a sharp political divide on Obamacare with Republicans favoring repeal, Democrats favoring improving it, and Independents evenly divided. The divide seems to be based more on politics rather than policy.

The support for single payer seems to be about the same as other surveys have reported, though usually more Democrats than the 59% reported here are in support. Of note is that 44% of Republicans support single payer indicating that the single payer message should be targeted more broadly than just to progressives since there also is some significant support amongst conservatives for the concept.

What deserves special attention in this survey is the very strong support across the political spectrum for health care companies disclosing costs, lowering out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, and passing drug discounts on to patients. Although some might suggest that this indicates that Americans prefer incremental change, it more likely reflects the fact that it is easier to express support for one single beneficial policy issue at a time.

The nation needs to hear repeatedly just a couple of the specific policy issues that make single payer the moral imperative. We should work on that message, especially regarding affordability. For those whose attention we gain, we can elaborate on the full package.

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