The Tennessee Star Poll released earlier this week showed Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) leading former Gov. Phil Bredesen in a U.S. Senate general election matchup by 11 points, and all four remaining GOP candidates leading former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean in the Gubernatorial general election matchup.
In addition to political candidate matchups, the January 2018 Tennessee Star Poll asked likely general election voters of both parties their views on a number of key issues.
When it comes to health care, Tennessee voters view health care premiums and co-pays as the top priorities for their Member of Congress to address, while blaming the government and health insurance companies for the rising costs of their health care.
By a 39 percent to 31 percent margin, Tennessee voters want to end “death panels.”
These numbers, as it turns out, mirror the views of the eleven percent of voters who are undecided in the U.S. Senate race between Blackburn and Bredesen, and the slightly higher percentage of undecideds (21 percent) in the former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN-08)- Bredesen matchup, in which Bredesen holds a 3 point lead.
The automated (IVR) telephone survey of 1,003 likely Tennessee voters in the November 2018 general election was conducted for The Tennessee Star by Triton Research between January 21 and January 24 and has a 3.1 percent margin of error.
When it comes to health care costs that affect you or your family’s budget, respondents said the TOP priority for Members of Congress should be:
- 28 percent said the cost of health insurance premiums
- 17 percent said the cost of co-pays and deductibles
- 13 percent said the cost of prescription drugs
- 10 percent said the cost of hospital care
- 33 percent said they don’t know
A higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans believe the cost of prescription drugs should be a top priority of their member of Congress. Almost 1 in 5 voters who want their candidate for U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress to be a check on Trump also believe the cost of prescription drugs should be a top priority of their member of Congress.
The lower priority of prescription drug costs in the poll may be a result of the work President Trump is doing to address this issue. As conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Steve Forbes have recently noted, the Trump administration is making progress at lowering drug costs by speeding up approval of generic medicines at the FDA and ensuring that drug rebates are passed along to patients.
The survey indicates that, as the Trump administration and Congress now continue their focus on health care, voters are more interested in shining a spotlight on the cost of healthcare premiums and co-pays.
Those voters surveyed who stated they want a candidate to work closely with President Trump also want their members of Congress to prioritize the cost of health insurance premiums (30 percent), cost of co-pays and deductibles (17 percent), cost of hospital care (11 percent) and lastly, cost of prescription drugs (10 percent).
When asked who is to blame for the rising cost of health care:
- 25 percent said the government
- 25 percent said health insurance companies
- 14 percent said biopharmaceutical companies
- 8 percent said middlemen
- 5 percent said hospitals
- 2 percent said doctors
- 1 percent said pharmacies
- 1 percent said medical device companies
- 19 percent said they don’t know
Thirty-five percent of those who want their U.S. Senator or U.S. Congressman to work with President Trump blame the government for the rising costs of health care, and 36 percent of those who want their U.S. Senator or U.S. Congressman to be check on President Trump blame health insurance companies.
Twenty-six percent of undecideds in the U.S. Senate race believe the government is to blame, 19 percent blame health insurance companies, and 12 percent blame biopharmaceutical companies.
When asked “Would you be more or less likely to support a candidate for Congress or the U.S. Senate who supports repealing the “death panels”, which are non-elected bureaucrats in Washington, DC who make medical decisions for those on Medicare under the provisions of Obamacare?
- 39 percent said they would be more likely
- 31 percent said they would be less likely
- 29 percent said they don’t know
Conservatives in Tennessee and across the country have been urging leadership to bring up the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, that was included in Obamacare.
IPAB consists of a group of 15 unelected bureaucrats who control health care spending and ration health care for those on Medicare (i.e. senior citizens.) and is commonly referred to as “the death panels.” The House of Representatives approved repeal of the board with overwhelming support in 2017, but the U.S. Senate has yet to act.
A key number in the head-to-head for the U.S. Senate shows undecideds breaking in favor of repeal of “death panels,” most notably 16 percent of those undecided in the Fincher vs. Bredesen matchup are in favor of repealing death panels. A key demographic in 2018 Republican primaries are those aged 55 and up, and this survey shows majority want to see the death panels repealed.
The poll results surrounding the suddenly visible issue of counties suing pharmaceutical companies and other companies involved in the manufacture, sale, and distribution of opioids were of note.
When asked about the hiring of out-of-state trial lawyers to file lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies involved in the opioid business,
- 37 percent said they opposed asking conservative taxpayers to hire liberal trial lawyers outside Tennessee
- 34 percent said lawsuits are not the solution to the opioid crisis
- 11 percent said they didn’t care, as long as they get some money
- 7 percent said suing companies is OK with me as long as they hire local trial lawyers
- 10 percent said they don’t know
You can view the complete January 2018 Tennessee Star Poll results here:180125 Triton - January TN Star Survey - Topline Results General Election Matchups and Issues