More Americans trust Democrats over Republicans to do a better job handling healthcare in the U.S., including determining the future of Medicare, making sure that seniors are able to get the care they need and lowering the costs of prescription drugs, the results of a new poll revealed.
The latest tracking poll from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, released Oct. 15, also found that few Americans think President Donald Trump will deliver on his repeated promises to provide a healthcare plan to replace the Affordable Care Act — a law Republicans are trying again to overturn in the courts.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is expected to soon rule on whether to uphold a Texas judge's decision that the ACA is unconstitutional.
In June, Trump promised he would unveil a "phenomenal healthcare plan" in a month or two. But instead, he has introduced a number of proposals and ideas in a piecemeal fashion — a pattern that is expected to continue and is part of his reelection strategy, Joe Grogan, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said during an Oct. 7 forum.
The results of the Kaiser survey of 1,205 U.S. adults, conducted between Oct. 3 and Oct. 8, came hours ahead of the fourth Democratic presidential debate, in which 12 candidates are expected to clash over a number of issues, including the best approach for ensuring affordable and accessible healthcare for Americans.
According to the poll, 44% said Democrats are more apt to handle healthcare better, versus 29% who said Republicans would be more effective at managing the issue.
The survey showed that public support for moving the U.S. to a single-payer Medicare for All plan has dropped by 5 percentage points since April, though support remained somewhat strong at 51%, versus 47% who opposed adopting such a system.
The poll also found that 73% of Americans favored having a government-run public option plan available to compete with private health insurance, versus 24% who opposed that idea.
Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, however, said they want the presidential candidates to spend more time talking about other healthcare issues, such as women's health, surprise medical bills and lowering the cost of care.
The survey found that more Americans think Democrats had better ideas than Republicans for tackling the high costs of prescription drugs — 49% compared with 30%.
Those results come as Democrats and Republicans in the House are battling over whether to approve a legislative package from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
The Senate is also working out how it will merge three bipartisan bills adopted by the chamber's finance, health and judiciary committees aimed at reining in the costs Americans pay for their prescription medicines.
Trump has repeatedly said that his administration's efforts have led to the largest decline in drug prices in more than 50 years — an assertion analysts have said is not supported by the evidence. In May, Politifact rated Trump's claim "mostly false."
During an Oct. 3 speech in Florida, Trump said his administration would soon approve a proposal from the state's governor, Ron DeSantis, a Republican, to import prescription drugs from Canada and other foreign nations.
At an Oct. 11 campaign rally in Louisiana, Trump said he had given Florida the go-ahead to carry out its drug importation plan, though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did not confirm those remarks and the White House declined to comment.
Trump said he was also "giving other governors the right to go to Canada and other states and other countries to buy the drugs."
"It's easier than going through this horrible system where the Democrats refuse to allow you to do anything to cut the price of drugs," Trump said at the rally, despite drug importation being a longtime issue supported by his rival party and a topic rejected by most Republicans.
While Trump vowed during his Oct. 3 speech to protect and improve Medicare, the results of the Kaiser poll found that 47% of Americans trusted Democrats versus 35% who favored Republicans in determining the future of the program, which provides healthcare coverage for seniors and Americans with disabilities.
The results also showed that 51% said Democrats would make sure those Medicare beneficiaries received the care they need, compared with 32% who said Republicans would do a better job on that front.