Health

Poll: Healthcare Tops Americans' List Of Concerns

| by Robert Fowler

New polling indicates that Americans view health care and dissatisfaction with government leadership as the most pressing concerns for the U.S. The data indicates that Americans' concern over health care surged after the House passed the GOP replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare."

On May 12, a monthly survey conducted by Gallup found that 18 percent of national adults said healthcare as the most important problem facing their country. An equal number of respondents cited dissatisfaction with government was the most important issue.

Among adult respondents, 7 percent said that immigration was the most important challenge for the U.S. while the issues concerning the economy, unemployment and race relations tied for fourth place at 6 percent each.

Compared to previous polling, concerns over health care have increased among Americans since the beginning of 2017. In March, Gallup found that only 7 percent of national adults cited health care as the most important problem. In April, that number grew to 9 percent, only to double in May.

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In Gallup's history, national concern over health care peaked at 31 percent in January 1994, when then-first lady Hillary Clinton was advocating for universal coverage.

The most pivotal event to occur between April and May was the congressional vote on the American Health Care Act, the GOP replacement for the Obama administration's ACA. On May 4, 217 House Republicans voted to pass the AHCA. The bill garnered no Democratic support, The New York Times reports.

Critics blasted the controversial legislation's provisions to roll back Medicaid and grant states the ability to waive basic protections mandated by the ACA, such as prohibiting insurance companies from charging higher premiums for patients with pre-existing conditions.

Breaking down the Gallup survey data, Democrats are more likely to be anxious about health care than their GOP peers. 24 percent of self-identified Democratic respondents listed the issue as the country's biggest problem, while 14 percent of Republican respondents agreed.

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On May 11, a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that only 21 percent of registered voters supported the AHCA, while 56 percent opposed signing it into law. Support for the legislation was largely powered by Republican respondents, who approved of the bill by 48 percent, while only 16 percent disapproved, TIME reports.

Senate Republicans have signaled that they will not vote on the AHCA, but will instead draft their own health care proposal to send back to the House.

"The safest thing to say is there will be a Senate bill, but it will look at what the House has done and see how much of that we can incorporate in a product that works for us in reconciliation," Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri told the Washington Examiner.

Sources: Gallup, The New York Times, TIME, Washington Examiner / Photo Credit: Frankieleon/Flickr

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