By Consumers for Quality Care, on July 27, 2022
For Immediate Release
July 27, 2022
New Research Highlights Concern Among Montana Voters Over Rising Health Care Costs
70% of Montana Voters Say the Costs of Health Care are Going up More than Other Things They Need
Helena, Montana – A new survey of Montana voters from Impact Research and Lake Research Partners, on behalf of Consumers for Quality Care (CQC), reveals voters see high out-of-pocket costs as the biggest issue in the state’s health care system. Montanans are ready to support politicians who make lowering out-of-pocket costs a priority. Read more about the survey here.
“Montana families want to see direct measures to limit the rising deductibles, premiums, and other out-of-pocket costs,” said the Hon. Donna Christensen, CQC board member, physician, and former Member of Congress. “The high cost of health care has led to so many patients being plagued with thousands of dollars in medical debt that often goes into collections. It’s time for insurance to act like insurance and for our lawmakers to prioritize lowering costs and improving access to quality care.”
Montana voters’ number one concern when it comes to health care is that out-of-pocket costs are too high, and deductibles are the costs that people struggle with the most. Eighty-five percent of Montana voters believe it is more important now than ever that insurance cover mental health care, but more than half (61%) think it is difficult to find mental health providers that are affordable or covered by insurance.
More insights from the research include:
- 70% agree that the costs of health care are going up more than other things they need.
- By a more than a 3-to-1 margin, voters’ main concern in health care is that out-of-pocket costs are too high (31%).
- Less than half of voters (37%) would rate the way things are going with people having access to affordable health care in the state positively.
- High deductibles are the biggest specific pain point when it comes to cost (33%), especially for those with private insurance (40%).
- Over half of voters (63%) have either had their household finances seriously affected by medical debt or are close with someone who has.
- 61% of voters agree it’s difficult to find mental health providers that are covered by insurance.
Montanans want their elected officials to take action to lower out-of-pocket health care costs. Nearly 7-in-10 voters (67%) say they are more likely to support a candidate who makes reducing health care costs their top priority, including strong majorities of persuadable voters (61%) Independents (69%), and voters in both the Butte (71%) and Missoula (66%) media markets.
When it comes to lowering health care costs, Montana voters think the following measures would be effective:
- Capping insurance deductibles at a level that is low enough that people don’t go into debt when getting the health care they need (57%).
- Capping the amount health insurers can charge patients overall (59%).
- Requiring health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to pass the rebates or discounts they receive from drug companies on to patients (73%).
Montana voters also support policies that increase access to health care, including ensuring that VA hospitals are widely accessible (84%) and preventing closures of rural hospitals (85%).
“Montana families want protection against insurance companies continually charging consumers more and not covering expenses,” said Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners. “Amid rising inflation, reducing the rising costs of health care and providing better access to mental health care are priorities for Montanans. They want to see thoughtful fixes from lawmakers that lower out-of-pocket costs and increase access to quality care, and they are willing to support candidates who make those policies a priority.”
The Impact Research/Lake Research Partners poll on behalf of CQC was conducted June 15-21, 2022. The online survey sampled 642 registered voters in Montana. Overall results were weighted to reflect the composition of registered voters in the state.
About Consumers for Quality Care
Consumers for Quality Care (CQC) is a coalition of advocates and former policymakers working to provide a voice for patients in the health care debate as they demand better care. CQC is led by a board of directors that includes the Honorable Donna Christensen, physician and former Member of Congress; Jim Manley, former senior advisor to Senators Edward Kennedy and Harry Reid; Jason Resendez, community advocate and health care strategist; and Mary L. Smith, former CEO of Indian Health Service.