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The Inflation Reduction Act's Reforms to Lower Health Care Costs Are Key to Positive Democratic Messaging in 2022 Midterms

The issue of health care is never far from the top of mind for working people. They want to go to sleep at night without worrying about how they can afford their insurance premiums or life-sustaining prescription drugs. As the midterms approach, the latest polling makes clear that the American people are judging candidates by their positions on lowering health insurance and drug costs.

After a landmark year in making health care more affordable, accessible, and equitable, President Biden and Democrats have proven that they are delivering for the American people. While Democrats are touting the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Republicans are fighting to keep costs high for families – vowing to repeal the new law, including its provisions to lower health care and prescription drug costs, as their first order of business if they win a majority in the midterm elections. 

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Democrats on the campaign trail have taken note. As the polling shows, health care is the most popular legislative accomplishment of the Democratic Congress. Recent headlines from across the nation and ad spending show that Democrats running in 2022 are promoting their work to deliver lower costs for health care and prescription drugs – a sharp contrast to Republicans, who are instead protecting the profits of the special interests and drug companies. 

Recent Polling Shows the Importance of Health Care for Voters

NBC News Poll Finds Lowering Health Care Costs Is The Most Important Position A Candidate Can Embrace. In the newly-released NBC poll, the top policy that any candidate for office can embrace is “lowering health care costs and prescription drug prices” - making people 84% more likely to vote for you.

Surveys From Gallup And Navigator Research Say Health Care Is A Top Priority. A recent Gallup and West Health survey found that nine out of 10 Americans say that a candidate's plan to reduce the costs of prescription drugs is very or somewhat important in determining their vote. In the last Navigator Research survey, the issue of health care was #3 – behind inflation and jobs – among independents. 

Navigator Research and FOX News Polls Find Democrats Have A Significant Advantage On Health Care. In the past, health care was an issue that both parties competed for, but that’s no longer true. The American people have clearly decided that Democrats have an obvious advantage on the issue of health care. The latest Navigator Research survey found people trust Joe Biden and the Democratic Party by 15-points over the Republican Party (51-36%) on the issue of “lowering health care costs” and the Inflation Reduction Act maintains overwhelming public support by 41-points (67-26%) including among independents (68-23%). Similarly, a recent FOX NEWS poll found that people think Democrats would do a better job handling health care than Republicans by 17-points (55-38%) – one of the largest gaps they’ve measured on the issue in the last 15 years.

Candidates Are Focused on Health Care

U.S. Reps. Susan Wild, Chris Pappas And Steven Horsford in Newsweek (Opinion): Inflation Is High, Why Do Republicans Want You to Pay More for Medicine? “While there are many important components in this legislation that will help millions of people, the provisions related to drug prices and health care are truly historic. They deliver on the many years of promises to lower drug prices and build on our work to make health care more affordable for everyone.” [Newsweek, 10/18/22

(CA) Times in San Diego: President Biden Celebrates Victories Over Big Pharma. “In his second day in the Southland, President Joe Biden traveled to Orange County Friday and promoted his administration’s efforts to lower prescription drug and medical costs for families. There he highlighted what he called cost-saving measures in the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes provisions allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, caps the cost senior citizens are charged for prescriptions and lowers insulin prescriptions to $35 for Medicare beneficiaries. He also criticized Republicans for opposing the inflation legislation, warning that they are intent on undoing its provisions if they regain control in Washington as a result of the Nov. 8 midterms.” [Times in San Diego, 10/14/22]

(FL) The West Volusia Beacon (Opinion): Val Demings Continues to Support Lowering Health Care Costs. “Marco Rubio is bad for your bank account, and he is bad for your health. Should Republicans gain control of the Senate, the recently enacted cap on the cost of insulin would also likely disappear. Bad for Florida, bad for your budgets. On the other hand, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, Rubio’s opponent in the upcoming election, has demonstrated her consistent support of containing health care costs for all Floridians by her support of the recently enacted “Inflation Reduction Act,” which includes the cost-saving components that Mr. Rubio’s co-sponsored bill would repeal. Her “yes” vote helped save Florida families potentially tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket health care expenses per year, and ensured their ability to continue to have access to the drugs and services they require to maintain their health.” [The West Volusia Beacon, 10/25/22]

(WA) King 5: Sen. Patty Murray Touts Inflation Reduction Act in Recent Debate. “Murray said she wants to continue working for Washington families. In her candidate statement, Murray said she will always stand up to those who want to "roll back workers' rights" or ban abortions. She also said she wants to lower families' costs for healthcare and childcare. When asked what Congress should do to address rising costs, Murray said she's focused on lowering costs for families as we "get through this global challenge we're facing." She said she's worked to lower prescription drug costs. The biggest reduction in prescription drugs was seen in the Inflation Reduction Act, she said, also noting the bill to cap insulin copays at $35.” [King 5, 10/23/22]

(IL) Chicago Tribune: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi Supports the IRA in Most Recent Candidate Forum. “He went on to share his accomplishments in Congress. ‘I’m proud of my bill that became a law that modernizes vocational education for 11 million students nationally,’ Krishnamoorthi said. ‘I’m proud of my work for seniors to finally lower prescription drug prices starting in January and I’m proud to stand with women—if they don’t have control of their bodies, they cannot achieve the American dream, so I fight for their reproductive freedom.’ Both candidates addressed how inflation is hurting Americans. Krishnamoorthi shared how he feels the Inflation Reduction Act will bring down the cost of gas, groceries and prescription drugs, and impact energy and health care costs.” [Chicago Tribune, 10/25/22]

(WI) Up North News: HEALTHCARE: Statewide Democrats Show Support For ‘Lower Costs, Better Care.’ “Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Attorney General Josh Kaul, and Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Milwaukee area residents who will benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act. Barnes took sharp aim at his opponent in the race to serve Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate for the next six years. ‘Working Wisconsinites deserve another Senator who understands firsthand the challenges they’re facing and who will go to the mat to fight for them,’ said Barnes. ‘Not the Big Pharma and insurance company donors Ron Johnson has prioritized for the last 12 years.’” [Up North News, 10/14/22

(NH) WMUR: Kuster, Burns Share Competing Ideas On Cutting Costs Of Prescription Drugs. “A fight over prescription drug costs is shaping up in New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District…On the campaign trail Tuesday, Kuster highlighted her vote in favor of the legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act, one element of which will allow Medicare to negotiate how much it pays for prescription drugs.” [WMUR, 10/4/22

Campaign Ad Spending Shows the Importance of Health Care

Ad Spending Demonstrates That Democrats Are Laser Focused On Health Care. The latest data from the Wesleyan Media Project shows that health care and prescription drugs, combined, is the biggest topic in pro-Dem ads for the US Senate - health care (35.2%) and prescription drugs (19.6%). The same is true among Democratic ads in the U.S. House with health care (25.9%) and prescription drugs (16.6%) combined to be the top issue in advertising. Last week, New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassen started airing a new ad touting her work to ‘take on the big drug companies to break their hold on outrageous drug prices.” In Georgia, Senator Raphael Warnock has an ad about actually getting something done for seniors by lowering prescription drug costs. 

Republicans Are Playing Defense On Health Care. End Citizens United’s recent ad in Maine contrasts Congressman Jared Golden with his opponent on the issue of prescription drug prices. And vulnerable Republicans are on defense with ads like this from House Majority PAC highlighting Congressman David Valadao’s votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to raise prescription drug prices.

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