With the highest unemployment rate on record in decades, it is no surprise that almost a quarter of voters have delayed or know someone who has postponed receiving medical care during the COVID-19 crisis because of cost, according to new national polling from Morning Consult.
No one should hesitate to address health concerns because of fear around costs. While health insurance providers and employers have taken critical steps to waive patient cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment and testing, the lack of comprehensive federal protection against surprise medical billing raises greater risk as our nation continues to work to overcome COVID-19.
Key highlights from the Morning Consult poll include:
- There is strong bipartisan support (86% Democrats, 79% Republicans) for Congress to ban surprise medical billing during the COVID-19 crisis. An even greater percentage of bipartisan voters (91% Democrats and 80% Republicans) believe it is important that Congress ban surprise medical billing permanently.
- Support for banning surprise medical billing during COVID-19 is especially high among senior voters (71% support).
- Nearly an equal percentage of Democrats (73%) and Republicans (70%) support banning hospitals and providers that have received federal funding from sending surprise medical bills to patients.
- Two-thirds of voters (65%) would be more likely to support a candidate in the 2020 election if he or she voted for comprehensive legislation to protect patients from surprise medical billing.
- A majority of voters (55%) support paying the provider the median in-network rate over having an arbiter decide how much the doctor will be paid (45%).
Comprehensive legislation to ban surprise medical billing should be a top priority as Congress works on its next COVID-19 relief bill. While patients need immediate protection as the COVID-19 crisis continues, a permanent surprise billing ban is one of the most important steps we can take to protect patients from public health threats in the future.
View the latest results from Morning Consult here.