You might think that Trump supporters also support House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican leadership’s plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, gut Medicare and block grant Medicaid, driving up health care costs for most Americans. Not so at all. Drew Altman, President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, writes in the New York Times that Trump voters want lower health care costs.
The Kaiser Family Foundation recently held focus groups with working-class supporters of Donald Trump. In short, their view is that health care costs are too high. They struggle to pay their premiums, deductibles and drug costs in their Affordable Care Act health plans. They want good health insurance and fear not being able to afford health insurance for themselves or their families.
Trump supporters with coverage through their state health exchanges were frustrated by unexpected health care bills that they believed their health plans covered. And they were not happy that they were burdened with these bills when people with slightly lower incomes than they could get Medicaid, which relieves them of substantial health care costs. Trump supporters with Medicaid were a lot more satisfied with their health coverage.
Trump voters, much like Clinton voters, have no love lost for either the health insurance companies or pharmaceutical companies. They resent having to switch health plans from one year to the next in order to continue to see their doctors. They do not like narrow provider networks or high-deductible plans, which they do not see as insurance. And, they think drug costs are too high.
Trump voters said they liked the lower-cost health plans available pre-ACA, which did not cover all the essential benefits the ACA plans cover. (Though, given their animosity towards high-deductible plans, they might feel differently once they were enrolled in a low-cost plan that did not cover the high-cost care they needed.)
Finally, Trump voters think that it is “un-American” for health insurers to be able to deny coverage to people with costly conditions; they expect any new health care system to cover people with pre-existing conditions. (They likely do not know that Tom Price, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, supports making people with pre-existing conditions wait as long as 18 months to get coverage for those conditions.)
Most likely, Trump voters did not support Trump because of his health care platform. Given their views on health care, it seems pretty clear that Speaker Ryan and the Republican leadership are not on a path to address their concerns.
Here’s more from Just Care: