• Revenue Cycle Management
  • COVID-19
  • Reimbursement
  • Diabetes Awareness Month
  • Risk Management
  • Patient Retention
  • Staffing
  • Medical Economics® 100th Anniversary
  • Coding and documentation
  • Business of Endocrinology
  • Telehealth
  • Physicians Financial News
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cardiovascular Clinical Consult
  • Locum Tenens, brought to you by LocumLife®
  • Weight Management
  • Business of Women's Health
  • Practice Efficiency
  • Finance and Wealth
  • EHRs
  • Remote Patient Monitoring
  • Sponsored Webinars
  • Medical Technology
  • Billing and collections
  • Acute Pain Management
  • Exclusive Content
  • Value-based Care
  • Business of Pediatrics
  • Concierge Medicine 2.0 by Castle Connolly Private Health Partners
  • Practice Growth
  • Concierge Medicine
  • Business of Cardiology
  • Implementing the Topcon Ocular Telehealth Platform
  • Malpractice
  • Influenza
  • Sexual Health
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Technology
  • Legal and Policy
  • Money
  • Opinion
  • Vaccines
  • Practice Management
  • Patient Relations
  • Careers

Are health care costs a priority for voters in the 2024 election year?


KFF poll examines voter feelings as nation prepares to pick a president in November.

health care cost concept: © Scott Hales - stock.adobe.com

© Scott Hales - stock.adobe.com

Health care costs are moving to the top of the list of financial concerns as the nation prepares for the 2024 election cycle.

The latest KFF Health Tracking Poll found more than 70% of adults are worried about unexpected medical bills (74%) and the cost of health care (73%). Almost half of voters (48%) say health care costs are a main reason for their negative views of the economy, although inflation, everyday expenses and housing remain greater concerns.

The poll found 19% of adults said they have trouble covering their monthly bills, while 37% said they can just afford their monthly expenses, and 44% said they can pay their monthly bills with money left over.

“Those who report difficulty affording monthly bills are more likely to view the national economy negatively and are more likely to worry about affording health care and other routine expenses,” the report said. “They are also more likely to want the presidential candidates to talk about economic issues, including health care costs and the future of Medicaid, compared to voters who can easily afford their bills.”

In a column this month, KFF President and CEO Drew Altman cited media outlets CNN and MSNBC showing polling data with “health” and “health care” as low-priority issues for voters.

“They are reporting the polling with complete accuracy,” Altman said. “However, if pollsters asked more often ‘what do you mean by “the economy”’ or ‘what are your economic concerns?’ health care costs would be right up in the mix with inflation and other everyday family economic worries. Drug costs would not be too far behind.”

ACA views

KFF also asked people about the Affordable Care Act, with a mix of results.

Most Republicans – 67% – have an unfavorable view of ACA, but 25% of Republicans want the next president and Congress to expand what ACA does. Among adults, 16% want to keep the ACA as is, while 14% of people want it scaled back and 18% want it repealed entire, according to KFF. Among Democratic voters, 77% favor expanding the law, while 48% of independent voters do.

Candidates campaigning

Discussing specific candidates, just 16% of voters said former President Donald J. Trump has a plan to replace the ACA; that rises to 30% among Republican voters. President Joe Biden was vice president when ACA originally was enacted; almost half the public said he had a major or minor role in passing the legislation.

ACA prohibits insurance companies from denying health care coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions. Just 39% of people are aware of that, but 67% of all voters say it is “very important” to continue that rule.

The Biden administration has touted its efforts to expand health care coverage so the nation’s uninsured rate has dipped to record lows. But people may not be paying attention – 35% said they were aware of the uninsured rate dropping, but 32% said they believed it has gone up and 31% said it has stayed the same.

‘Health care election?’

Abortion access is the health care issue most likely to sway voters in November, but 2024 will not have a “health care election.”

“Still, it looks like there is untapped potential to appeal to voters who are concerned about the affordability of health care, by talking more about it, and by making proposals that voters may perceive as helping them pay their medical bills,” Altman wrote.

The KFF poll was conducted among 1,309 adults from Jan. 30 to Feb. 7 this year.

Related Videos