Health Care Affordability in the Election Spotlight

Total Pharmacy JournalTotal Pharmacy April 2024
Volume 02
Issue 02

More than half of those who responded to a recent KFF survey say they are worried about paying for their prescription drugs.

Both the economy and health care costs are the issues voters want to hear about going into the 2024 presidential election, according to a survey by KFF.1

Voters lined up at the polls / -

Voters lined up at the polls / -

Health care costs top the list of peoples’ financial worries. More than half of those surveyed by KFF worry about paying for their prescription drugs, and almost 3 in 4 people say they worry about unexpected health care costs more than everyday expenses. Results of the survey also found that 86% of respondents are worried about the cost of health care services and 83% say they are worried about medical bills. Many also worry about financial debt: Seventy percent of adults are very or somewhat worried a medical or dental bill will put them into debt.

KFF also found that 19% of adults say they have difficulty affording their bills each month and 37% say they are just able to afford their bills each month. The group of individuals who say they are struggling financially are disproportionately made up of Black adults, Hispanic adults, and women.

The survey also found that health care costs are a top issue for voters and have impacted their views of the economy. Overall, 67% of voters view the economy negatively. But 88% of Republican voters and 72% of independent voters are more likely to hold negative views of the economy.

Voters who have trouble affording their monthly bills are more likely than those who can afford their bills with money left over to say it is very important for the 2024 presidential candidates to talk about economic and health care–related issues such as inflation, affordability of health care, prescription drug costs, the future of Medicaid, and student loan debt.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains popular generally, with 59% of those surveyed saying they view the law favorably. But 67% of Republican voters view the ACA unfavorably.

The survey also identified gaps in people’s knowledge about the law. For example, between 3 and 4 in 10 people of those surveyed are aware of the provision that protects people with preexisting conditions.

Additionally, many are unaware that the uninsured rate has gone down since the ACA’s enactment. Since 2010, access to insurance through the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace, as well as the expansion of Medicaid, has led to a decrease in the number of uninsured adults under age 65 years in the United States from 18% to about 10%

“During the open enrollment period at the end of 2023, a record-breaking number of individuals selected health insurance plans through the ACA Marketplace, or, continuing a trend of increases in enrollment since 2020’s open enrollment period,” KFF wrote. “However, this fact is not widely known among the public.”

The KFF survey was conducted online and by telephone between January 30 and February 7, 2024, with 1309 adults, including 1055 registered voters.

This article originally appeared on and has been lightly edited.

1. Kearney A, Montero A, Valdes I, Kirzinger A, Hamel L. KFF health tracking poll February 2024: voters on two key health care issues: affordability and ACA. KFF. February 21, 2024. Accessed March 7, 2024. affordable-care-act/poll-finding/kff-health-trackingpoll-february-2024-voters-on-two-key-health-careissues-affordability-and-aca/
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