Consumers for Quality Care on Aug. 23 released key findings from a recent survey of New Jersey voters conducted by ALG Research and Bully Pulpit Interactive.
The poll shows that New Jersey residents remain concerned about the skyrocketing cost of health care, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The rising cost of health care is a major concern for three-quarters of New Jersey voters,” said Danny Franklin, partner, Bully Pulpit Interactive. “The poll shows that 71% of respondents say that their health care costs are rising faster than income levels. That number jumps to 80% among those who are struggling financially. As New Jersey families rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 crisis, they are looking for solutions that lower the cost of care. Voters want to see their elected officials prioritize lowering health care costs.”
Nearly a quarter of all respondents currently have unpaid or overdue medical bills. The disparity increases among both voters of color and those struggling financially. Among respondents of color, 35% say they currently have unpaid or overdue medical bills, while 43% of those struggling financially stated the same.
The rising cost of health care is a major concern for three-quarters of New Jersey voters.
– Danny Franklin, partner, Bully Pulpit Interactive
Addressing the issue of health care affordability remained a priority to respondents.
Voters are looking to Congress for a more targeted approach to fixing the current system, rather than completely transforming it. Overall, 61% of respondents believe Congress should focus more on building upon the current system by making specific fixes, such as reducing out-of-pocket costs, compared to 26% who say Congress should fundamentally transform the health care system and 13% who are unsure.
However, most also agree that lawmakers should be cautious to make changes coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 71% agreeing with this approach.
As for specific solutions, 73% of respondents support permitting non-physician health care practitioners to provide services currently administered by physicians. In addition, 58% support preventing insurance companies from limiting coverage or increasing premiums or copays for COVID-19 survivors.
“This research confirms what many New Jerseyans have been feeling: the out-of-pocket costs for quality health care are too high,” said Donna Christensen, a founding board member of CQC and the first female physician elected to Congress. “With about 18% of Americans with medical debt in collections, it is no wonder why consumers are stressed about the cost of going to the hospital or seeing a doctor. Out-of-pocket costs shouldn’t be so high and unpredictable that they discourage people from seeking care, and insurance should act like insurance and be there for patients when they need it.”
In addition to health care cost concerns, the poll revealed that issues such as out-of-pocket costs including surprise bills, high deductibles, and delaying care due to rising health care costs are top of mind with voters. The results show that voters want their elected officials to focus on driving these costs down, with respondents overwhelmingly stating they would like their leaders to work on driving down costs (54%) over improvement to quality (15%) and access (13%).
Other key findings from the poll include:
- 78% of respondents agree the amount they pay for health care seems to be going up every year.
- 52% of respondents agree that at some point in their life, they have struggled to pay a medical bill–even while having health insurance.
- 72% of respondents are concerned they will receive a surprise medical bill that is thousands of dollars, while 71% are concerned they will be unable to afford a high deductible for the care they need.
- 66% of respondents are concerned they will need to delay seeking care due to high health care costs, with 60% noting concerns they will be unable to afford their monthly health care premiums
The Consumers for Quality Care poll was conducted via an online survey from July 19 to 25, 2021 with 601 total respondents of registered voters across New Jersey. The poll was conducted by ALG Research and Bully Pulpit Interactive.