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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Public Concerns About Health Care Provide Edge for Dems

In her article, “How Democrats could win back the House on health care, in 4 polls,” at The Fix, Amber Philips reports some good polling news for Democrats:

We have three polls out this week that tell that story.

In an Oct. 14 Washington Post-ABC News poll, 82 percent of voters said health care is one of the most important issues in their votes for Congress — precisely matching the king of top issues in elections, the economy. That poll finds voters trust Democrats over Republicans to improve their health-care situation.

(Washington Post graphics)

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll out Thursday also finds that voters say health care is the top issue, over the economy. That goes for the all-important independent vote. And it holds true for voters in swing states like Florida and Nevada, both states with competitive governor’s and Senate races.

Perhaps the most devastating find for Republicans comes from a new Fox News poll. Voters who say health care is their most important issue prefer Democrats by 24 percentage points.

Republicans, of course, are fighting back, trying to cover up their assault against Obamacare’s key provision protecting Americans with previous health conditions, but it looks like the damage is done.

Meanwhile, Democrats can gain further ground with high-turnout senior voters by calling attention to a major rip-off in the GOP’s health care bill. “Under the GOP’s health-care bill, insurers would be allowed to charge older adults up to five times more than younger people. Under Obamacare, rates were capped at three times more,” reports Michelle Fox in “Older Americans slapped with ‘age tax’ in GOP health-care bill: AARP” at cnbc.com. Fox adds,

“Right now, health care is barely affordable for those people who are over age 50. Raising it any more is just what we call an ‘age tax’ and would just make it unaffordable for them,” David Certner, legislative counsel and legislative policy director for government affairs at AARP, said in an interview with “Power Lunch.”

And while there are currently tax credits in place to help offset costs, the current bill reduces those tax credits, he noted. “There’s a double whammy here.”

Fox notes that conservative supporter of the GOP bill Jeff Miron, director of economic studies at the Cato Institute, “believes it’s the right policy to make the system work efficiently…It is only current near elderly who are going get particularly penalized by this transitional effect.”

Scant comfort for senior voters. It will be interesting to see how many of the “near elderly” are paying attention at the ballot box on November 6th.

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