US Insights

Trump’s Healthcare Battle Takes a Toll

Ross Tucker

Executive Editor Kantar US Insights

Politics 02.13.2018 / 12:00

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Americans see no relief from the high cost of healthcare.

Americans put healthcare at the top of the list of challenges facing our country, but their confidence in the current efforts to overhaul the system is eroding according to Kantar research.

On Monday, the White House released its proposed budget for 2019, a budget that made clear that the campaign to do away with the Affordable Care Act remains a priority. Not surprisingly, the budget called for increases in defense spending, border security and infrastructure spending. On the healthcare front, however, the plan would call for a $675 billion spending cut by 2028 and include a $1.4 trillion cut to Medicaid.

Last year, Kantar’s Lightspeed division wanted to find out how Americans felt about a range of healthcare issues, including their thoughts on the cost of prescription drugs and whether they felt health insurance costs were likely to go up or down. We asked the same questions a year later and found that the faint signs of optimism we saw heading into President Trump’s first full year in office are on the decline.

Healthcare costs

Americans’ concerns over the cost of healthcare have only risen since our original survey in February 2017. The number of Americans who are concerned about healthcare costs ticked up to 76% in February 2017 compared with 71% a year ago.

Health insurance costs

The battle over healthcare coverage may have had its biggest impact on consumers’ outlook on insurance. 64% of Americans now believe the cost of their health insurance will rise, a sizable gain from 52% a year ago. More than a quarter of Americans expected the cost of health insurance to go down last year. Our survey results this year show that confidence has eroded, with only 17% believing health insurance costs will decline.

Women are more pessimistic when considering the future of health insurance. 67% of women said they expect the cost of insurance to rise and only 15% expect a decline. Even 40% of women who identified themselves as Republicans said they expected insurance costs to rise.

Obamacare gains favor

Doing away with Obamacare has been a linchpin in the larger Republican plan to overhaul the US health system. Despite this, the public’s view on the program has improved, with 45% of Americans having a favorable view compared with 38% in 2017. Those holding an unfavorable view of Obamacare fell to 33% this year from 39% a year ago.

Prescription drug prices

Americans are paying more for prescription drugs than any other country in the world, and there’s almost no belief that the trend can be reversed. Only 14% of Americans feel the cost of prescription drugs will go down, compared with 21% in February 2017. Half of Americans now expect drug prices to rise compared with 43% in February 2017.

This is particularly troubling when you consider the general health of the US population. According to Kantar Health's latest Global Health and Wellness report, 152 million Americans have been diagnosed with a condition that could be termed "preexisting" for future health services. That’s almost 63% of the adult population. Almost 32% of the population is considered obese.

Americans are already struggling with the costs related to treating these issues. To combat the sometimes high-costs of treatment, 41% of U.S. adults diagnosed with a pre-existing condition report using a cost savings strategy – such as cutting tablets in half, taking less medicine than prescribed, buying fewer pills or buying them less often than directed.

Source: Kantar, Lightspeed

Editor's Notes

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