News, Special Projects / Topics

Health care remains serious concern among voters

As midterm election day is quickly approaching, voters head to the polls to make their voices heard. One issue that is being brought up among voters is health care.

According to the Pew Research Center, 42% of Republicans and 79% of Democrats say health care is an important factor when making voting decisions in the 2022 midterm elections. 

Health care continues to be a key concern among voters heading into the 2022 midterm elections. (Illustration by Alyssa Lane/Kokopelli)

What is health care? Health care can be defined as a lot of different things including health insurance, pharmaceuticals and, according to Webster’s dictionary, “efforts made to maintain or restore physical, mental, or emotional well-being especially by trained and licensed professionals.” 

According to a 2021 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.6 million Americans under the age of 65 are uninsured. 

Another poll created by West Health and Gallup News found that health care costs are important to voters. “87% say a candidate’s plan for cutting healthcare costs is important to win their vote.” 

The same poll found that it’s critical to Americans age 65 and up that political candidates have plans to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, regardless of political party. According to the poll, “A majority of Americans (86%) report that a candidate’s plan to reduce the cost of prescription drugs is very or somewhat important in determining their vote.” 

While political candidates often disagree about which parts of health care are most important, they all agree that health care is at least an important topic.

In the New Mexico 2022 gubernatorial debate, Republican challenger Mark Ronchetti said he wants to create more opportunities for doctors. “[You] cannot have a great health care system when you don’t have doctors,” Ronchetti said. “So what can we do? We’re going to roll back House Bill 75 right away so that we get more doctors in here to help you. Number two, we’re also going to get rid of the gross receipts tax on doctors. We have to make doing business for doctors in New Mexico more attractive, and then we have to pay the education costs of doctors who want to relocate to the state.”

In the same debate, Democratic incumbent Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham talked about the health care policies New Mexico currently has. “Our policies on health care are some of the most robust in the country. Certainly, we need more, but look, Mark, it’s Medicare that creates the issues with most doctors, because we don’t get the same rates,” Lujan Grisham explained. “In addition, we’ve created a patient affordability fund that’s going to create better access and lower health care costs and premiums. [Ronchetti is] against the Inflation Reduction Act, which for the first time allows us to actually negotiate prescription drugs and provide access to actual medical devices that make a difference for our seniors, including hearing aids.”

In the state of Texas, the Democratic candidate for governor, Beto O’Rourke, wants to expand Medicaid. “As governor, I will do the common sense, fiscally responsible thing and expand Medicaid to bring billions of your federal tax dollars back home to Texas to help more people see a doctor. Expanding Medicaid will create nearly 300,000 jobs in Texas, keep rural hospitals open and reduce property taxes and health care costs across the board,” O’Rourke wrote.

O’Roarke’s website also outlines a plan to help address the nursing shortage in Texas. “In addition to my Nursing Jobs Plan — which will create a state-sponsored scholarship and apprenticeship program to recruit 7,500 registered nurses every year until Texas’ nursing shortage is eliminated — I will also restore funding for programs designed to recruit and retain the best and brightest doctors and mental health providers to Texas.” 

Republican incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott says he wants to focus on mental health challenges as well as ensuring coverage without enforcing the Affordable Care Act. “If we are going to fully address COVID related health issues, we must also focus on the mental health challenges that Texans are facing. During the pandemic, we created a 24/7 mental health support line, provided crisis counseling and established virtual access for behavioral services,” Abbott said in his 2021 State of the State Address to the Texas legislature on Feb. 2, 2021. In the same address, Abbott explained: “Looking beyond just COVID, there is more we can do this session to ensure that Texans have better access to health care. That includes ensuring that Texans with preexisting conditions have access to health care coverage without being forced into the Affordable Care Act.” 

3
HOW IMPORTANT IS HEALTH CARE WHEN IT COMES TO DECIDING HOW TO VOTE?

New Mexico District 2 congresswoman and Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell says the cost of health care has hurt New Mexican families. On the congresswoman’s website she wrote, “The skyrocketing cost of healthcare has hurt New Mexican families. Obamacare only increased costs for Americans who were told if we like our health coverage, we could keep it.” She also wrote, “Congress can and should work to bring transparency to the healthcare system. Doing so will result in lower costs for patients — from what they pay for health insurance to what they pay at the pharmacy counter.”

Democratic challenger Gabe Vasquez said he believes that New Mexicans deserve high-quality and affordable health care. “Every New Mexican deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care. This pandemic has shown us how fragile our healthcare system truly is and how high medical costs can quickly bankrupt entire families,” Vaquez wrote.

The following also appears on the candidate’s website: “In Congress, Gabe will work to lower healthcare costs for New Mexicans by fighting for a public option, adding dental and vision benefits and lowering the eligibility age for Medicare to 55, and ensuring that Medicare can negotiate for lower prescription drug costs, because everyone should be able to afford life-saving care without going broke.” 

All voters are encouraged to consult votesmart.org in order to research candidates’ biographies, voting records, policy positions, ratings, speeches and funding. Votesmart.org is a nonpartisan organization. Its stated mission is “to provide free, factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials to all Americans.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*