With the release June 22 of the Senate Republicans’ health care bill, Vanderbilt political scientist John Geer is available to discuss how Tennesseans feel about a variety of health care proposals ranging from a complete repeal of the ACA to the implementation of a single-payer system, based on results of the most recent Vanderbilt Poll, which Geer co-directs.
“Health care is more important than ever for Tennesseans,” says Geer. “Though Tennessee is a conservative state, we find there are real concerns within the public about some of the policies proposed by Republicans in both the House and the Senate.”
The percentage of Tennesseans who say health care should be the state government’s top priority has been steadily rising since 2012 and now stands at 30 percent, tied for first place with the economy. At the federal level, Tennesseans rank reducing health care costs second, after the economy and before terrorism prevention.
Support for the Affordable Care Act is still low but higher than it’s ever been before—29 percent. Additionally, support is growing among Tennesseans to fix the ACA (33 percent, up 5 from November) rather than repeal it (14 percent, down 7) or repeal and replace it (24 percent, down 5). In another surprise, the percentage of Tennesseans favoring a single-payer health care system has risen 6 points since November to 22 percent.
While Tennesseans may still be skeptical of the ACA itself, several of its signature policies have overwhelming bipartisan support: Just under 80 percent want insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, not charge them more for it, cover children up to age 26 and cover addiction treatment.
Geer is the co-director of the Center for Democratic Institutions and the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt of Political Science. More information about the Vanderbilt Poll, including all findings and methodology, is available at vu.edu/poll.