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Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: August 2012

This poll, conducted as the GOP prepares for its national convention, finds that the Affordable Care Act is not the top health care priority among Republicans. While jobs are still the number one issue for Republicans, when asked about the health care issues that will impact their vote this fall, Republicans’ top concern was the cost of health care and insurance, named by two-thirds (67%) as either “extremely” or “very important” to their vote in Kaiser’s August Health Tracking Poll. Next on the list was Medicare, cited by six in ten Republicans (61%) as being important to their vote, while the 2010 health care law ranked third, at 54 percent. Most interviews in the August 7-12 poll were conducted before Governor Mitt Romney announced Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate on August 11th, which has led to a greater focus on Medicare in the news.

When it comes to Medicare, another recent Kaiser survey, conducted in partnership with The Washington Post and fielded from July 25 to August 5, finds that among Republicans a majority (55%) prefer the idea of keeping Medicare as it is rather than changing to a system in which seniors are guaranteed a fixed amount of money that could be used to purchase coverage “either from traditional Medicare or from a list of private plans.” Both Romney and Ryan have proposed converting Medicare into a premium support program, with the House Republican budget plan spearheaded by Ryan calling for such a change to begin in 2023.

Even though more than four in ten Republicans (44%) say they don’t yet have a “basic understanding” of what Governor Romney is proposing to do on health care if elected president, a majority (79%) believe his approach to health care would be different than that of President Barack Obama. And 80 percent of Republicans say they trust Romney to make the “right decisions” about the future of the ACA.

The August poll is the latest in a series designed and analyzed by the Foundation’s public opinion research team.

Findings (.pdf)

Chartpack (.pdf)

Toplines (.pdf)

Findings from The Washington Post/Kaiser survey