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Costs, Medicare top healthcare issues for voters: poll


By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: August 16, 2012 - 9:00 pm ET
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The cost of both healthcare and health insurance, followed by Medicare, are the top healthcare concerns on the minds of voters in all political parties, according to an August tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

When asked about the top healthcare policy issues in this campaign season, 78% of Democrats, 73% of Independents and 67% of Republicans listed the cost of healthcare and health insurance as either extremely or very important to their vote for president. Meanwhile, 80% of Democrats, 74% of Independents and 61% of Republicans said Medicare was the next most important topic to influence their choice.

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“Two other issues more narrowly qualify as being important to a majority of Republicans: 54% say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be an issue in their vote, and 52% name abortion,” the survey noted. Meanwhile, healthcare was second only to the country's current job situation as the economic issue most worrisome to voters. The federal budget deficit, the cost of college education and problems in the housing market followed.

The Kaiser survey was conducted between Aug. 7 and 12 among a nationally representative telephone sample of 1,208 age 18 and older. An earlier joint survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post showed that 71% of voters over the age of 65 and 63% of voters between the ages of 50 and 64 said Medicare should continue as it is today, with the federal government guaranteeing all seniors the same set of health benefits. That poll found that 23% of voters 65 and older and 31% of voters between the ages of 50 and 64 said the program should change to a system in which the government gives seniors a fixed amount of money to help them buy coverage. That proposal—known as the premium-support model—is favored by GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his running mate, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Ryan has championed this model since he unveiled his controversial “Path to Prosperity” budget plan last year.


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