President Biden on Thursday ordered Affordable Care Act marketplaces to reopen for enrollment from February 15 to May 15, a step meant to increase access to coverage in keeping with Biden’s broader aim of bolstering Obamacare. Nearly 15 million people are eligible for coverage via the Obamacare exchanges, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, with some 4 million eligible for bronze-kevel plans that would be free after accounting for subsidies and another 4.9 million qualifying for partial subsidies.
A new poll conducted by Gallup and West Health finds that expanding health coverage remains a priority for many Americans, but a larger share say that lowering premiums and drug costs should be a top concern for the government. Seven in 10 adults say that bringing down premiums should be a high priority for the Biden administration, while two-thirds point to drug costs and 63% call reducing the uninsured rate a high priority. The survey of 3,100 adults was conducted online from December 15, 2020 to January 3, 2021.
“Democrats are more likely than Republicans to prioritize lowering health insurance premiums and the cost of prescription drugs, but majorities of both groups agree these cost reduction goals are high priorities,” Gallup’s Dan Witters reports. “In contrast, 90% of Democrats (and 60% of independents) but only 30% of Republicans regard reducing the uninsured rate as a high priority.”
Americans are largely skeptical, though, that the Biden administration and Congress will be able to deliver on those priorities. Nearly half of those surveyed, 49%, said they were pessimistic that the government will be able to enact policies to bring down health care costs, and a similar share expressed pessimism about action on drug prices. Just over 25% say they are optimistic that the Biden administration and Congress will be able reduce costs. Overall, just 8% say that the U.S. in moving in the right direction when it comes to the cost of health care and just 12% say it is doing so on drug costs.