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Pre-Existing Protections Remain Popular With Voters Ahead of Midterms

Allison Inserro
The midterm election is less than a month away, and a new poll tracking how Americans view healthcare issues finds that a majority of voters in 2 bellwether states—Nevada and Florida—prefer a candidate who supports keeping the Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
 
The midterm election is less than a month away, and a new poll tracking how Americans view healthcare issues finds that a majority of voters in 2 bellwether states prefer a candidate who supports keeping the Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Overall, voters say healthcare is a very important issue, although it ranks lower for Republican voters, according to the poll from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Republicans ranked healthcare behind immigration, the economy, and jobs, although Democrats and independents ranked healthcare first.

Seven in 10 voters (71%) say healthcare is “very important” in making their voting decision for Congress this year, slightly larger than the shares that say the same about the economy and jobs (64%). Majorities also say the same about gun policy (60%), immigration (55%), tax cuts and tax reform (53%), and foreign policy (51%).

Medicaid expansion in nonexpansion states is another popular topic; a majority of people living in nonexpansion states would like to see their state expand Medicaid. In Florida, where the Democratic gubernatorial candidate supports Medicaid expansion, majorities of Democratic voters (74%) and independent voters (53%) say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports expansion, while a majority of Republican voters in Florida (52%) say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who wants to “keep Medicaid as is.”

In battleground states, healthcare is the top issue (28%), coming ahead of the economy and jobs (22%), immigration (16%), gun policy (15%), tax cuts and tax reform (8%), and foreign policy (5%).

However, there is a partisan split. Nearly 4 in 10 Democratic battleground voters (37%) chose healthcare as the top issue in their voting decision for Congress this year as did 3 in 10 independent battleground voters (28%). For Republican battleground voters, immigration outranks healthcare (29% to 17%).

Healthcare costs, including prescription drug costs, as well as improved access, also resonate with voters.

A majority of voters in the bellwether states of Florida (69%) and Nevada (68%) say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports maintaining the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, making this the most popular candidate position on healthcare across both parties. Both of these states have competitive gubernatorial and senate elections in which candidates are campaigning on various healthcare issues.

Slightly more than half of people living in in those 2 states say they or someone in their household has a pre-existing condition. Both states are concerned about healthcare costs. Healthcare is the top issue among Florida voters (26%) and among the top issues for Nevada voters (24%), along with immigration (23%) and the economy and jobs (21%).

However, by healthcare issue, there were partisan splits in both states. In Florida, 3 in 10 Republican voters (31%) say repealing the ACA is the most important candidate position on a healthcare issue in determining their vote for Congress. On the other hand, nearly one-fourth of independent voters (23%) and 2 in 10 Democratic voters (21%) in Florida say a candidate supporting a national health plan, or Medicare-for-all plan, is the most important healthcare position

Similar to Florida, 3 in 10 Republican voters (29%) in Nevada cite repealing the ACA as the most important candidate position. But Democratic voters (31%) want a candidate to support a national health plan.

For independent voters in Nevada, continuing the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions tops the list of candidate positions on health care issues (27%). Maintaining the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions is the only healthcare position that ranks among the top 3 for all partisan voters in Nevada (24% of Republicans and 21% of Democrats).

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