In the 2020 election, Americans nationwide cast their ballots with two major issues on their minds – the economy and coronavirus. Health care specific concerns centered on pre-existing conditions protections and rising out-of-pocket costs exacerbated by declining coverage. But how do these trends compare at the state level?
Our post-election data show that surveyed voters in 12 key states mirror this national sentiment. Here are three key examples:
- The economy and the COVID-19 pandemic are the two most important issues to voters.
Across the 12 states we surveyed, COVID-19 and the economy were cited as the top two most important issues to voters. For example, one-third of Pennsylvania voters said that the economy was the most important issue, with 30% of Georgians echoing the same sentiment. Meanwhile, voters in Florida (31%), North Carolina (31%), Arizona (30%) and Michigan (30%) prioritized the pandemic. Conversely, prescription drug costs was not a top voting issue, with only 0-1% of voters in the states we surveyed putting it among their top two.
- In addition to COVID-19, the cost of health insurance premiums, protections for pre-existing conditions and out-of-pocket costs are the most important health care issues.
Beside the pandemic, voters overwhelmingly said the cost of health insurance was the top health care issue. Further analysis of the data helps explain why voters are worried about their ability to afford and access care when they need it. At least two in five voters across all polled states said they are paying more out of pocket now to cover health expenses than they did four years ago. That problem is more acute in states like Florida (45%), Georgia (45%) and Minnesota (46%), where almost half of all voters reported they are now paying more out of pocket than they were just a few years ago.
- Out-of-pocket costs are a barrier to affording health care.
Voters across all of the states we surveyed consistently identified out-of-pocket costs, cost of insurance premiums and cost of insurance deductibles as a barrier to affording the health care they need. Over the past decade, deductibles have grown both in prevalence and size; the share of the adult population in private health plans with deductibles of $1,000 or more doubled between 2010 and 2020. It should be no surprise, then, that voters consider it a top priority for policymakers to focus on making insurance more affordable.
Overall, these results further demonstrate a continued need to work toward ensuring Americans can access and afford needed treatment and care, while addressing major health concerns like the COVID-19 pandemic. Biopharmaceutical companies are working around the clock with one shared goal: beat COVID-19. At the same time, our industry is actively advocating for solutions — ensuring patients benefit from rebates at the pharmacy counter, covering medicines from day one, lowering cost sharing and making coupons count — that address the most pressing concerns for Americans nationwide.
Nick McGee Nick McGee is a senior director, public affairs, at PhRMA focusing on communications strategies and activities for the organization’s state advocacy priorities. Prior to joining PhRMA in 2017, he worked as a Capitol Hill communicator and congressional campaign advisor. Nick is a native Hoosier and struggling Indianapolis Colts fan. Nick and his wife are foodies who love to travel, cheer on the Nationals and hang out with their goldendoodle, Tucker.