Americans Want Trump to Focus on Health Care First

NEW YORK (Reuters) -

Health care is the top issue Americans want Donald Trump to address during his first 100 days in the White House, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday, an apparent rebuke of outgoing President Barack Obama’s signature reform, Obamacare.

Some 21 percent of Americans want Trump to focus on the health-care system when he enters the White House on Jan. 20, according to the Nov. 9-14 poll, conducted in the week after the Republican won the U.S. presidential election.

Jobs took second place with 16 percent of Americans hoping it would be Trump’s first agenda item, while immigration came third — picked by 14 percent of Americans, according to the poll. Some 11 percent picked race relations.

The poll shows what priorities Americans would set on the new president, but it does not measure exactly what people want him to do. A separate Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found in late October that most Americans want cheaper prescription drugs and access to larger networks of doctors and hospitals. Only a minority, 37 percent, want to repeal Obamacare altogether and start over, as Trump has promised to do.

“We can’t afford it — that’s the problem,” said Daphne Saunders, 50, of LaFollette, Tennessee, who took the Reuters/Ipsos poll, explaining why she picked health care as the top issue.
Saunders lost her employer-subsidized insurance when she left a job at a university in 2011 and has been paying roughly $300 per month since then for check-ups and prescription drugs to manage a heart condition and diabetes.

Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act has been credited with expanding coverage to as many as 25 million people. But the law has been weakened through various legal challenges. Some of the biggest health insurers have pulled out of insurance exchanges after losing money, and insurance premiums have increased for those who do not receive government insurance subsidies.

Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare with “something that works,” though he has not articulated what he would propose in its place. It is also not clear how swiftly a Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress could change the law.