Voters Care More About Health Care After GOP Reforms Fail, Poll Shows

March 29, 2017 at 7:00 am ET

Health care overtook security as the top priority for American voters for the first time since Donald Trump was elected president, after the Republican Party failed to pass a massive health care reform last week.

Twenty-two percent of registered voters said health care was their top issue, according to a Morning Consult/POLITICO poll, the highest level since polls began three years ago. The poll was conducted after the House pulled the GOP health bill from the floor on Friday.

Health care normally takes third fiddle to concerns about security and the economy, which has historically been the top issue for voters. Twenty-seven percent of voters said they still saw the economy as the top priority, down from 35 percent in early November, after the presidential election.

But concerns about health care have ballooned in recent weeks, rising 5 percentage points over a two-week period, after Republican leaders introduced major legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

GOP leaders pushed the bill through committees without the support of Democrats and opposition flared up within party ranks, as moderates worried about Americans who would lose health insurance coverage and the conservative House Freedom Caucus fretted the bill did not go far enough in erasing Obamacare. Voters largely disapproved of the measure.

The replacement legislation also faced staunch opposition from doctors’ groups, hospital organizations and the AARP. Estimates showed older people were likely to face higher premiums under the bill.

As expected, among voters aged 55-64, who likely deal with higher health costs but don’t yet qualify for Medicare, 30 percent reported health care as their top issue, double the percentage for those aged 18-29.

And nearly a third of Democrats cited health care as a key concern in the latest poll, double the 15 percent of Republicans who did so.

The national survey polled 1,991 registered voters March 24-25. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. See more here.

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