Healthcare Availability, Affordability Most Pressing Worry, Gallup Poll Says

April 2, 2019

The availability and affordability of healthcare is the most pressing concern of Americans, Gallup says in latest poll.

A poll conducted by Gallup in the early part of March, before the Trump administration agreed with a Texas judge that the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be invalidated, found that 55% of Americans worry a great deal about healthcare.

In addition, 49% worry about hunger and homelessness, the organization said Monday.

The telephone poll was conducted between March 1 and March 10, with a random sample of 1039 adults living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia.

It’s the fifth year that healthcare has topped Gallup’s list of potentially worrisome issues; a majority of Americans have said they worry a great deal about healthcare in each of the 18 years the question has been asked since 2001.

Last week, the Trump administration, through the Department of Justice (DOJ), said in a 2-sentence letter that the December 2018 district court ruling that the ACA is unconstitutional because of the removal of the individual mandate should be affirmed, which would result in the entire ACA falling and millions of people losing their health insurance.

A few days later, a different federal court judge ruled that the administration’s efforts to expand association health plans were “clearly an end-run” around the ACA. In addition, another federal judge rebuked the administration for its efforts to put in place work requirements for certain Medicaid beneficiaries in Kentucky and Arkansas.

The Gallup poll asked questions about 15 different subjects.

Healthcare has been a perennial issue no matter who has held the Oval Office; the report released Monday shows that it is within 1 percentage point of where it was in 2010 (56%), when the ACA was signed into law by former President Barack Obama. It has never dropped below 54% over the past 9 years.

Healthcare played a role in the midterm elections, and in November, 61% said that the possibility of increases in healthcare insurance costs was “a major concern.”

Still, the topic most often cited by the administration as a major concern—illegal immigration—came in 10th on the list, with 36% saying they are concerned about the issue.

After the availability and affordability of healthcare, spending and the federal deficit, and hunger and homelessness, the list of issues top of mind for Americans are drug use, crime and violence, environmental quality, income inequality, gun availability, Social Security, and race relations.