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Poll: Americans Want Health Care Costs Kept in Check

Suggestions include price controls on drugs, hospitals, and doctors

THURSDAY, Nov. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Most Americans now support aggressive regulation to keep health care costs in check — including price caps on drugs, medical devices, and payments to doctors and hospitals, a new HealthDay/Harris Poll has found.

The HealthDay/Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between Oct. 14-16 among 2,072 adults. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

Nearly three of every four Americans (73 percent) want price controls placed on manufacturers of drugs and medical devices, the poll revealed. That’s up from 64 percent who favored such controls in a 2014 poll. A majority also said they’d favor importing cheaper drugs from other countries and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. About 62 percent put significant blame on insurance companies, and 53 percent put substantial blame on the health care system as a whole. Only 36 percent put a lot of blame on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for health care prices, but responses differed widely based on political party. About 65 percent of Republicans blame the ACA, making the federal health care reform law their top target. Just 13 percent of Democrats blame the ACA.

Regarding specific proposals for containing the cost of care, the poll found that 73 percent support price controls on drug and device manufacturers; 70 percent would like price controls placed on hospitals; 66 percent want to authorize Medicare to negotiate drug prices; 63 percent support price controls on payments to doctors; and 56 percent want to be able to import less expensive drugs from other countries.

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