American families aren’t as worried about terrorism or crime as they are about paying their health care bills, a new poll suggests.
Health care costs have emerged as the No. 1 concern for American families, according to a new national Monmouth University poll. Health care costs outranked a variety of other concerns that registered in the single digits, including college tuition and taxes.
That’s a dramatic change from just two years ago, when health care was lumped with job security and other household bills as causing the most anxiety for American households, said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey.
”It’s also worth noting that issues that have been dominating the news, such as immigration and national security, rank very low on the list of items that keep Americans up at night,” Murray said.
The question posed to respondents was “turning to issues closer to home, what is the biggest concern facing your family right now?” No list was read to them.
The poll comes as the Republican-led Congress grapples with delivering on its campaign promise to improve the nation’s health care system by dismantling President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care program, and it suggests Americans will be watching carefully. Republicans have promised an improved health care system, but Democrats note they have yet to agree on a replacement plan, despite promises to repeal the 2010 law.
The poll found that 25 percent of Americans report that the cost of health care is the biggest concern facing their families. Two years ago, 15 percent reported health care as their family’s primary concern.
Anxiety about meeting health care costs easily outpaced the other major concerns: job and unemployment worries – at 14 percent – as well as concerns about paying everyday household bills, at 12 percent.
The poll found health care the top concern of families regardless of income or partisan identity. It far outranked a variety of other concerns that registered in the single digits, including school costs and taxes, which both pegged in at 4 percent. The poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 12 to 15, with 801 adults. It carries a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
The findings come as Republicans seek to replace the 2010 law without disrupting coverage for an estimated 20 million Americans who now have health insurance.
Some conservatives groups worry that Congress, which promised rapid repeal, already has lost valuable momentum. President Donald Trump suggested Sunday that repeal efforts could stretch into 2018, but observers say pushing repeal and replace into an election year would complicate the effort.
”I would like to say by the end of the year at least the rudiments,” Trump told Fox News. “But we should have something within the year and the following year.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., insisted Tuesday that the House is on track and legislation will be passed this year.
“Our committees are busy underway doing this,” Ryan told reporters. “And we hope to get this done as fast as possible because families are counting on us.”