Poll: Ahead of midterms, Pa. voters want lower health insurance costs | Friday Morning Coffee

Out-of-pocket healthcare costs are too high, Keystone State voters say as a critical midterm cycle in a critical 2022 state really heats up

By: - August 12, 2022 7:17 am

(Stock.adobe.com image by Rawpixel.com/Maryland Matters).

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

While the Affordable Care Act has trimmed the ranks of Americans without health coverage, and a landmark spending bill now before Congress will help further contain costs, nearly three-quarters of Pennsylvanians agree that healthcare costs are going up more than other things they need.

That’s just one of the findings included in a new poll by Consumers for Quality Care, a self-described “coalition of advocates and former policy makers,” that says it’s dedicated to providing a voice for patients in our national debate over healthcare.

A third of the poll’s respondents (35 percent) say out-of-pocket costs are too high, a 3-1 margin over the second place response that too many people lack health coverage (12 percent).

(Source: Consumers for Quality Care)
(Source: Consumers for Quality Care)

More than half the poll’s respondents (53 percent) said they’d skipped or delayed care because of concerns about high out-of-pocket costs. And that’s left many with sour feelings.

“Pennsylvanians are feeling the strain of inflation, and that includes the prices they are paying for gas and energy, food, and health care,” pollsters wrote. “In fact, 82 percent of voters say the amount they pay out of pocket for health care seems to be going up every year, and 74 percent feel that insurance companies nickel and dime consumers with out-of-pocket costs.”

Respondents also told pollsters they believe that Capping costs and regulating pharmacy benefits are the policies that will do the most to reduce health care costs.

The spending bill that’s now on a path to President Joe Biden’s desk allows Medicare to negotiate the prices of some prescription medication while capping out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries to $2,000 a year, the Capital-Star reported on Thursday.

And, according to the poll, state voters are likely to take into account a candidate’s stance on such issues as they cast their ballots in this November’s general election. Two Pennsylvania contests: the races for U.S. Senate and the Governor’s Office, are nationally watched campaigns this fall.

“Pennsylvanians want their elected officials to take action to lower out-of-pocket health care costs,” pollsters wrote. “More than 7-in-10 voters (73 percent) say they are more likely to support a candidate who makes reducing health care costs their top priority, including strong majorities of persuadable voters (65 percent) and Independents (59 percent).

The online poll conducted by Impact Research sampled the opinions of registered voters between June 24 and June 29 The poll had a margin of error of 4 percent.

Senate Democrats and members of the Pennsylvania Women’s Health Caucus hear from expert panelists in a hearing on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, about Post-Roe reproductive health care in Pennsylvania (Screen capture).

Our Stuff.
Abortion care providers and reproductive health advocates and experts told lawmakers in Pittsburgh on Thursday that an influx of out-of-state patients seeking abortion care is putting increased pressure on Pennsylvania’s abortion providersCassie Miller has the story.

During a news conference Thursday, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and other Democrats touted the ‘historic’ benefits of the spending package that cleared the U.S. Senate last weekend. Story and video from me.

In Pennsylvania, a scrappy interloper — New Jersey — is dominating the state’s U.S. Senate raceDana DiFilippo, of our sibling site, the New Jersey Monitor, reports.

En la Estrella-Capital: Con el año escolar 2022-23 programado para comenzar en muchas escuelas de Pensilvania en las próximas semanas, los funcionarios estatales alientan a los padres y tutores a asegurarse de que sus hijos estén al día con sus vacunas. Y el gobierno de Biden ha comenzado a alentar a los proveedores de atención médica a cambiar la forma en que administran las vacunas para protegerse contra la viruela del mono, en un intento de quintuplicar las dosis.

On our Commentary Page this morning: How does monkeypox spread? An epidemiologist explains. And these four responses totally misread the stunning Kansas abortion rights voteClay Wirestone, of our sibling site, the Kansas Reflector, writes.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller)

The Inquirer explains why Democrat John Fetterman chose Erie, a political bellwether, as the site of his comeback campaign rally. And Fetterman is planning ‘raw’ remarks for his return to the trail, the Associated Press reports (via WITF-FM).

The Post-Gazette takes up some unanswered questions about which Pennsylvania lawmakers received a subpoena from the FBI earlier this week.

The FBI searched former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence for nuclear documents, the Washington Post reports.

And a man who attempted to break into the FBI’s Cincinnati field office was shot and killed by law enforcement after a standoff, Talking Points Memo reports.

A newly filed lawsuit argues that Pennsylvania’s child abuse lawsuit is unconstitutional and names innocent people, PennLive reports.

State Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton, wants to restore a mechanism in state law that could have provided hundreds of millions of dollars of property tax relief to homeowners, the Morning Call reports.

Gas prices have dipped below $4-a-gallon at some NEPA gas stations, the Citizens’ Voice reports.

Temple University has made masks optional for the fall term — but the news is being met with a mixed reaction, WHYY-FM reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:


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What Goes On
The desk is clear. Enjoy the silence.

Gov. Tom Wolf heads to Philadelphia for a pair of events today. At 10 a.m, he’ll join lawmakers at the William C. Goodridge Freedom Center to celebrate the state’s Black history. At 1 p.m, Wolf joins Democratic Reps. Joanna McClinton and Jordan Harris, as well as Sens. Vincent Hughes and Nikil Saval, and advocates to discuss the state’s new Whole Home Repair Program and other housing initiatives included in the new state budget.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept
Best wishes go out this morning to Samantha Heckel, in the office of state Treasurer Stacy Garrity, who celebrates today. Congratulations.

Heavy Rotation
Here’s a song that just sounds like summer, from DJ/producer Calvin Harris, with support from Frank Ocean and Migos, it’s ‘Slide.’

Friday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link
As is its custom, The Guardian runs down the 10 things to look forward to in this weekend’s round of Premier League action, including Sunday’s London showdown between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. Me? I’ll be watching to see if Aston Villa can recover from its pretty hapless season opener against Bournemouth last week as it faces Everton on Saturday.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.