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Americans rank cost and transparency as top health care priorities, survey says

A piggy bank with a ban aid on it and a stethoscope
Creative Commons
A new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that Americans list health care costs and transparency as top priorities.

When it comes to health care, Americans say affordability and transparency are their top priorities, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The survey asked 1,500 Americans which health care issues they most want President Obama and Congress to focus on. While politicians have been focused primarily on the Affordable Care Act, the survey found that everyday Americans are more concerned with issues affecting their wallets and their ability to have more information about the cost and quality of care.

The top two priorities had to do with the high cost of prescriptions, with 76 percent of respondents saying expensive drugs for chronic conditions like HIV, hepatitis, mental illness and cancer should be affordable for people who need them. Sixty percent said the government should take action to lower prescription drug costs in general. 

At number three on the list, Americans said they want to be protected against expensive charges when they go to a hospital covered by their insurance and are treated by a doctor who’s not in their network.

Other high-ranking priorities included making sure health plans have enough doctors, and knowing how much procedures and tests are going to cost.
 
The Affordable Care Act finally came up at number eight on the list of respondents' priorities. One half said the insurance subsidies offered under the health law should be available to more people. Repealing the Affordable Care Act ranked 13th overall, with 36 percent of Americans naming that as a priority.

Responses differed tremendously depending on political party, however.

While both Republicans and Democrats ranked the high cost of specialty drugs as their top priority, the number two priority for Republicans was repealing the Affordable Care Act.

For Democrats, the number two priority was strengthening the federal health law, by requiring all states to adopt the federal health law's Medicaid expansion.

The survey was conducted from April 8-14.