Poll: Drug, insurance companies blamed for high health care costs

Six years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Americans are divided over how well it’s working, according to a new poll from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Politico. But they’re more in agreement over who’s to blame for high health care costs: drug companies, insurance companies, and the federal government.

In the poll, 47% of Americans said that the ACA is working well, and 47% said it’s working poorly. Negative opinions were more extreme than positive ones: 33% of Americans said the ACA is working very poorly, while only 17% said that it’s working very well.

Four in ten Americans said they are worried about not being able pay their medical bills in the coming year, and their top concern is out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays and deductibles. Asked who is responsible for rising health care costs, most respondents put drug companies at the top of the list, followed by health insurance companies. “People have a high level of concern about health care costs, and at the moment, pharma is villain number one,” said Robert Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Public Health and Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis, in a September 28, 2016 Politico article. Blendon led the research team that designed the Politico-Harvard Chan School poll.

The poll also found that more than half of Americans favor the creation of a government-sponsored health insurance program—often called a “public option”—for the ACA health care marketplace. “They want something bigger, broader, more interventionist,” Blendon told Politico.

The poll, which questioned a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults about health care and the ACA as well as free trade and the economy, was part of new collaboration between Harvard Chan School and Politico on health and domestic policy-related polls.

Read the Politico article: Politico-Harvard poll: Americans blame drug companies for rising health costs

View the Politico-Harvard poll results: Americans’ View on Current Trade and Health Policies