Health care poll – Affordability remains top concern

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Delaware voters in a recent Delaware poll see affordability as a major issue in the state’s health care system.

Consumers For Quality Care commissioned the poll from ALG Research.

Polls have been rare in Delaware due to the state’s small size and domination of statewide offices by Democrats.  However, polling has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, perhaps aided by the election of President Joe Biden.

While Delawareans generally believe the health care system is meeting their needs and are wary of making fundamental changes to it,  out-of-pocket costs are having a serious impact, the poll indicated. 

 “This research confirms what many Delawareans have been feeling: the out-of-pocket costs for quality health care are too high,” said Donna Christensen, a founding board member of CQC and the first female physician elected to Congress. “With about 18% of Americans with medical debt in collections, it is no wonder why consumers are stressed about the cost of going to the hospital or seeing a doctor. However, out-of-pocket costs shouldn’t be so high and unpredictable that they discourage people from seeking care, and insurance should act like insurance and be there for patients when they need it.”

Voters want elected officials to get those costs down, but not at the expense of access to quality care. Voters cite cost (45%) as the thing they want their leaders to work on most—nearly double as many choose cost compared to those who choose improving quality (24%), ease-of-navigation (15%), or access (12%). However, in an open-ended question, more respondents said “good health care” would mean access to good health care providers (54%) than said it would mean more affordable care (38%).

According to pollster Christine Matthews with Bellwether Research, “The cost of healthcare is a huge issue for voters in Delaware. Six-in-ten report that at some point they have struggled to pay a medical bill, even with insurance, and more than one-in-four report they are currently struggling to pay an overdue or unpaid medical bill – a number that rises to half for Black voters in the state. In particular, voters cite the cost of insurance premiums and high deductibles as challenges to maintaining affordable, quality care.”

According to the poll, those surveyed want targeted, careful fixes – especially coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic – not a government-run system. Instead, legislation that aligns with their priorities would: 

  • Make sure insurance deductibles are low enough that they don’t get in the way of getting quality care (92% agree with this).
  • Prevent insurance companies from selling plans that cover so little that it isn’t affordable to get care (84% agree with this).
  • Extending postpartum Medicaid benefits from 60 days to 12 months (65% support / 24% oppose). This receives support from a majority of Democrats (77%), Independents (56%), and Republicans (51%). 

 

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