- As the nation’s economy and rising prices are on the forefront of the public’s mind, the latest KFF Health Tracking Poll finds the public wants lawmakers to prioritize out-of-pocket health care costs as Congress debates current health legislative priorities. A majority of the public (61%) say limiting how much drug companies can increase the price of prescription drugs each year to not surpass the rate of inflation should be a “top priority” for Congress. Slight majorities also say capping out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 a month (53%) and placing a limit on out-of-pocket costs for seniors (52%) are top priorities for Congress to take action on in the coming months. Majorities across partisans say many of the health care priorities asked about are important for Congress to work on in the coming months.
- As many people move on from the COVID-19 pandemic, only about a quarter of the public say providing more funding to continue the COVID-19 pandemic response (25%) or making permanent the financial help that was part of the COVID-19 relief bill for people who buy their own insurance (21%) are top congressional health care priorities.
- Twelve years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a majority of the public (55%) continue to view the law favorably, but opinions towards the 2010 health reform law are still divided by partisanship. Majorities of Democrats (87%) hold favorable views of the law and many (43%) say the law has directly helped them and their families. On the other side of the political aisle, most Republicans (79%) view the law unfavorably and four in ten say the ACA has hurt them and their families.
- The No Surprises Act went into effect earlier this year and began protecting people with private health insurance from receiving surprise out-of-network medical bills when they received care from an in-network hospital. However, more than half of adults, 18-64, with private insurance say they know nothing at all about this legislation (56%), with an additional one in five (22%) saying they only know “a little.”
- With a renewed focus from the Biden administration on reforming long-term care facilities such as nursing homes that have been much in the news during the COVID pandemic, KFF polling finds majorities of adults say this country’s nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term facilities are doing a “bad job” of maintaining adequate staffing levels (70%), offering affordable care (64%), or providing high-quality care to residents (54%). Views of the type of care provided by long-term facilities is even more negative among the one-fourth of adults who have a direct, recent connection with a long-term care facility. On the other hand, many (55%) say the country’s nursing homes are doing a “good job” of protecting residents and staff from COVID-19.
Economy and Inflation Are Public’s Top Concerns, Many Worry About Affording Basic Living Expenses
The latest KFF polling finds more than half of the public (55%) say inflation and rising prices is the biggest problem facing the U.S. right now, more than three times the share who say the same about any other issue included in the survey. About one in five (18%) say the Russian invasion into neighboring Ukraine is the biggest problem facing the U.S., followed by six percent each who say the same about the COVID-19 pandemic, crime, and climate change.
Inflation and rising prices is the top issue across partisans, with about half of Democrats (46%) and independents (53%) and seven in ten Republicans (70%) saying it is the biggest problem facing the U.S. About one in four Democrats (23%) say the Russian invasion into Ukraine is the biggest problem, as do 17% of independents and 14% of Republicans. One in ten Democrats also say either climate change (10%) or the COVID-19 pandemic (9%) is the country’s biggest problem, but few Republicans agree.
The economy, inflation, and rising prices are also the top issue for voters as the country begins the ramp up to the 2022 midterm elections. When asked to name in their own words the issue they think will be most important when deciding which candidate to vote for, more than one-third of voters (37%) offer responses related to the economy. A handful of other issues also mentioned by voters include climate change (4%), crime (3%), the Russian invasion into Ukraine (3%), taxes (2%), the COVID-19 pandemic (2%), gas or energy (2%), or immigration (2%).
The economy is also the top voting issue across partisan voters, with three in ten Democratic voters, more than a third of independent voters (36%), and nearly half of Republican voters (48%) offering economic issues as their top voting concern. Some partisan voters offer things other than policy issues as the biggest driver of their vote, including wanting to vote their party’s candidates into office: one in ten (11%) Democratic voters say the most important thing to them is voting for Democratic candidates, while 6% of Republican voters offer voting Republican as the most important aspect of their voting decision.
In addition to being worried about affording health care costs along with other household expenses, half of adults (51%) report that they have delayed or gone without medical services due to costs in the past year. This includes more than one-third who have put off dental services (35%), and one-fourth who have put off vision care (25%) or general visits to their doctor or health care provider (24%). Fewer say they have put off mental health care (18%) or hospital services (14%) due to cost. One in ten say they have put off hearing services including getting hearing aids due to cost – including one in five (18%) older adults (ages 65 and older) who report this.