Affordability of healthcare worries Americans most: KFF poll

The ability to afford unexpected medical bills and the cost of healthcare services top the list of Americans' financial concerns headed into the 2024 presidential election.

The finding comes from a Feb. 21 KFF survey conducted Jan. 30 through Feb. 7 among a nationally representative sample of 1,309 U.S. adults. 

Here are seven key findings from the poll: 

1. Most adults are "very" or "somewhat" concerned about their ability to afford unexpected medical bills (74%) and healthcare services (73%) for themselves and their families. Additionally, 55% of adults indicate concern about affording prescription drug costs, while 48% of insured adults worried about being able to afford their monthly health insurance premium.

2. Concerns about the affordability of medical bills and healthcare services are the top financial worries across political party lines. 

3. Comparatively, most adults also report worrying about being able to afford gasoline or other transportation costs (65%), monthly utilities like electricity and heat (64%) and food (62%).

4. About 6 in 10 individuals (59%) express positive views of the Affordable Care Act. Views are split down party lines, with nearly nine 87% Democrats and 55% of independents holding positive views of the law while 67% of Republicans view the ACA unfavorably. 

5. Political views about what to do with the ACA are consistent with where they stood in 2020. About 3 in 4 Democrats want the 2024 incoming administration and Congress to expand the law (77%), while two-thirds of Republicans want it scaled back (23%) or repealed entirely (39%).

6. The strongest favor is tied to ACA provisions that bar health insurance companies from denying coverage due to people's medical history (67%) and charging higher premiums to sick individuals (65%). Few people — only 3 to 4 in 10 — recognize these provisions as part of the ACA, however.

7. Most voters (67%) rate the national economy as "not so good" or "poor." Their assessment is largely influenced by their perceptions of their own costs, with significant groups describing the economy negatively due to the cost of everyday expenses (64%), inflation (63%), cost of housing (57%), or cost of healthcare (48%).

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