A new poll from WebMD finds that more than 67% of respondents, the majority of them women, rank the healthcare policies of the presidential candidates as “very important” factors in determining who they will choose in the November 3 presidential election.
An even greater percentage of total respondents, 69.5%, ranked the candidates’ plans for managing the COVID-19 pandemic going forward as very important.
The majority of respondents (59%) said they understand the candidates’ healthcare plans, with more women than men indicating that they do (40% versus 19%).
Of those indicating that the candidates’ healthcare policies were a high priority, 51% describe themselves as female, as compared with 19% who describe themselves as male.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT?
The results of a poll of more than 400 physicians and nurses from Medscape, WebMD’s professional platform, were similar, with 93%-94% of respondents indicating that healthcare will be an important factor in their voting decisions.
Most physicians and nurses rated the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic as poor (70% and 66%, respectively), with nearly two-thirds saying the COVID-19 response will influence their vote “a lot.”
More than twice as many clinicians said they prefer former Vice President Joe Biden’s healthcare plan to President Trump’s. Nearly 60% of physicians prefer Biden’s plan, as do 52% of nurses.
Biden has campaigned on a healthcare plan that builds on the Affordable Care Act, adds a public option and increases marketplace subsidies. The Trump administration is supporting the lawsuit filed to overturn the ACA by 18 Republican-led states, but has not yet released a detailed healthcare plan.
THE LARGER TREND
The recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has potential ramifications for the Affordable Care Act, as the GOP has long sought to dismantle the law. Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett, a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, as GInsburg’s replacement. Trump nominated, and the Senate confirmed, Barrett to the Seventh Circuit in 2017.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the ACA case, California v. Texas, a week after the November 3 presidential election. The legal battle pits Republican-controlled states against the attorneys general of 20 Democratic states over the legality of the ACA, now that the mandate for individuals to buy health insurance is gone. Payers and providers have voiced support for the ACA.
With a 53-47 majority in the Senate, the GOP, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, could push through a vote for a new Justice prior to the election if they have the votes to do so. To date, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Maine Senator Susan Collins are the only Republicans in the chamber who have indicated they would rather wait until after the election to take action on Ginsburg’s replacement. Vice President Mike Pence would be the tie-breaking vote in a hypothetical 50-50 split.