POST Online Media Lite Edition


Most Americans think drug costs are unreasonable high

Staff writer |
The August Kaiser Health Tracking poll finds that most Americans feel that drug costs are unreasonable (72%) and that drug companies put profits before people (74%).

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Americans would like the federal government to negotiate with drug companies to get a lower price.
At the same time, the public largely values the role prescription drug companies play, with most (62%) saying that prescription drugs developed in the past two decades have made the lives of people in the U.S. better, including about 4 in 10 (42%) who say a lot better.

About half of Americans (54%) report currently taking prescription drugs, with most of them (72%) saying they are easy to afford, while about a quarter (24%) say they have a difficult time paying for their drugs; a share that rises among those with lower incomes (33%) or in worse health (43%).

Large shares, across the partisan spectrum, have favorable views of several proposed actions to lower drug costs, including requiring drug companies to release information to the public on how they set their drug prices (86%) and allowing the federal government to negotiate with drug companies to get a lower price on medications for people on Medicare (83%), and majorities also say these strategies would be effective.

Reflective in part of the perceived high costs of prescription drugs and focus on profits, about 4 in 10 (42%) Americans have a favorable view of drug companies, lower than the shares who feel favorably towards doctors (78%), food manufacturers (58%) and banks (58%).

When it comes to their views of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this month, the American public remains divided in their opinion of the law; 44% say they have a favorable view and 41% say they have an unfavorable view.

Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) say they want Congress to expand what the law does, an identical share (28%) want the law repealed, and the remainder fall in the middle by saying they want Congress to continue implementing the law as it is (22%) or scale it back (12%).

Those who favor repeal are divided on whether the law should be replaced with a Republican-sponsored alternative or if it should be repealed and not replaced (12% and 11% of the public overall).

In addition, even after being told that about 19 million people would become uninsured if the health care law were to be repealed, only 3% are swayed to say they no longer favor repealing the law.

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