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Republican and Democratic Voters Share Health Care Cost Concerns

Health care expenses rank second to keeping the country safe, according to a poll

A Reuters/Ipsos poll has found that both Democrats and Republicans treat rising health care costs as a top priority. The poll found very different opinions between the two groups regarding how to address health care, but roughly the same percent viewed it as a priority. The poll surveyed 1,639 adults with a credibility interval of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

According to Reuters, 62% of Republican voters view health care costs as a priority, compared with 67% of Democrats, highlighting their frustration with rising drug prices, insurance premiums, and insurance deductibles ahead of the 2016 vote.

The only topic that attracted more interest was national security, as 67% wanted to know more about how presidential candidates planned to keep the country safe. Fifty-four percent wanted to know their plan for creating more jobs, 42% were interested in plans for education reform, and 31% in how they would deal with climate change.

U.S. employers have been shifting more health-coverage costs onto workers, particularly through high-deductible health insurance plans, which can reach $6,600 in out-of-pocket costs for an individual and $13,200 for a family before insurance kicks in. Many of these changes have been ushered in with President Barack Obama's signature health care law, as well as recent sharp increases in some prescription drug costs.

About 40% of people polled by Reuters/Ipsos said their health care costs rose in the past year, compared with 46% who said the costs were about the same and 13% who saw a decline. More than 30% spent more on prescriptions than last year. 

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont have vowed to remedy rising drug prices in their campaigns. Republican candidates have emphasized plans to repeal Obama's Affordable Care Act, which they blame for raising premiums and other costs.

Source: Reuters, December 21, 2015.

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