Political polarization among voters likely to have significant effect on future health policy, including ACA

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An in-depth analysis of results from 14 national public opinion polls that looked at how Republican and Democratic likely voters in the 2016 presidential election view the health policy issues raised during the election campaign shows that the two parties’ voters have markedly different values, priorities, and beliefs about the future of health policy.

The article, which examines the potential effect of the 2016 election on the future of health policy in the United States, appeared in the Oct. 27, 2016 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Narrow discussions of policy that appear in the media often miss these widespread differences in views,” says Robert J. Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and lead author of the article. “With the country polarized over health care issues, future policies will be heavily influenced by which party holds the presidency and a majority in Congress.”

The political parties fundamentally differ over the role the federal government should play in intervening in the U.S. health care system (see chart below) and working to achieve universal health insurance coverage in the future, how great an effort should be made to try to narrow health care gaps between rich and poor, and the future role of the federal government in funding abortion services.