Health care costs could edge out political party loyalty in November elections

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Candidates working to lower prescription drug costs could gain supporters at the ballot box.

Health care costs could be more influential than political party loyalty when voters consider candidates in the midterm elections of November 2022.

Meanwhile, a strong majority of Americans agree prescription drug prices are gaining importance as a factor to consider when casting their ballots.

The findings were part of the 2022 West Health-Gallup Healthcare in America Report, in which 87% of people said a candidate’s plan to reduce the cost of health care services is very important or somewhat important. Just 3% of voters said those plans are not at all important.

The survey asked respondents if they would vote for a candidate from a political party they don’t typically support if reducing health care costs was their top priority, and 39% of respondents said they would be very likely or somewhat likely to do so.

“Our survey shows health care affordability remains on the ballot and that it could have a big influence on November’s midterm elections,” West Health President Timothy A. Lash said in a news release. “Clearly, candidates with a plan for lowering overall health care and prescription drug costs and who have an understanding for how important the issue is to voters could be rewarded.”


By the numbers

Health care costs are more likely to sway independents (50%) and Democrats (40%) than Republicans (22%) in considering candidates from another political party. Considering racial groups, 65% of Black Americans, 60% of Hispanic Americans, and 34% of White Americans were willing to vote across party lines for candidates pledging to lower health care expenses.

Apart from crossing party lines, a solid majority agreed health care is an important consideration in the next election, with 77% of Republicans, 85% of independents, and 96% of Democrats ranking it a priority. Along racial lines, 65% of Black Americans and 60% of Hispanic Americans were more likely than the 41% of White Americans to prioritize health care.

Eyes on drug prices

Skyrocketing prescription drug prices prompted an even stronger response than health care generally. The survey found 86% of Americans said a candidate’s plan to reduce drug prices was very important or somewhat important in determining their votes.

Among respondents aged 65 years or older, 90% said a candidate’s plan to reduce prescription drug prices was very important or somewhat important. Lower drug expenses were ranked very important by more Black Americans (65%) and Hispanic Americans (56%) than by White Americans (40%).

The pollsters said the conclusion is clear.

“The survey data suggests that combating high healthcare and prescription drug costs is particularly motivating to voting blocs that can tip elections,” Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index Research Director Dan Witters said in a news release.

Survey info

The survey asked for responses from a nationally representative sample of 5,584 adults from 50 states and the District of Columbia. It took place June 21 to 30.