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Despite the seemingly never-ending bickering and bombast over health care in this country, a new Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute survey shows that people are, in fact, overwhelmingly in agreement on many points.
The survey, released Tuesday, also showed that such uniformity of opinion about the importance of health insurance crosses political boundaries.
Now in its third year, the survey asked a wide ranging series of health care questions to 9,200 consumers across 15 states and more than 450 physicians earlier this summer. For the first time the survey looked at political leanings of a state to see if that influenced answers.
One of the most surprising findings was that despite what the political punditry suggests, people in red, blue and swing states are not so different in their health-care views after all.
For instance, a nearly universal 98 percent of respondents considered health insurance important to them and their families. That percentage was virtually unchanged across all political stripes.
Also, 28 percent — the highest choice picked — said basic coverage for all was the most important characteristic of a health care system. It was the same percentage in both states considered red and blue
The criteria to determining a state’s hue was how a state voted in seven of last 10 presidential election. A swing state was determined if voters favored Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and Barack Obama in 2012.
Red states were Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee and Indiana. Blue states were California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Washington. Swing states were Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina.
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Another key finding was that nearly half — 49 percent — reported having to cut other expenses to pay for health care. In addition, a total of 55 percent surveyed said expense was the main reasons for lacking insurance. This was more pronounced in red states than in blue states, the survey found.
Affordability is also apparently in the eye of the beholder. Most people said they could not afford to pay about 2 percent of their income on health care.
This is significant because under the current law most everyone is required to carry health coverage. They are granted a hardship exemption but only if it exceeds 8.2 percent of their income — suggesting a wide gulf between what consumers see is affordable and what lawmakers do.
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In Texas, 61 percent said they pay more out-of-pocket now for health care than they did two years ago. Slightly more than half also said a candidate’s stance on health care will affect their state mid-term election choice in 2018.
One striking result is that in nearly every state, a majority of those who voted for President Donald Trump would do so again based on what they now know of his health care plan.