01:16 - Source: CNN
Bernie Sanders lays out his vision for 'Medicare for All'
CNN —  

Washington may be obsessed with enacting “Medicare for All” or repealing Obamacare, but Americans have other priorities.

They want Congress to prioritize reducing health care costs and protecting those with pre-existing conditions, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Wednesday.

Roughly two-thirds of respondents ranked lowering drug prices and continuing protections for those with pre-existing conditions as a top priority, while half want lawmakers to address surprise medical bills, the poll found. But less than one-third put implementing Medicare for All or replacing the Affordable Care Act high on the to-do list.

The findings come at a time when 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are debating broadening health insurance coverage, potentially under a government-run plan called Medicare for All spearheaded by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent vying to win the Democratic primary.

On the flip side, the Trump administration has renewed efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It is now siding with a federal judge in Texas who ruled that the law is invalid. The case is currently in an appellate court.

Some 54% of those polled do not want to see the Supreme Court overturn the landmark health care reform law, but Democrats and Republicans hold very different views. Some 83% of Democrats don’t want the Supreme Court to rule against the law, while 73% of Republicans want the justices to invalidate it, according to Kaiser.

Overall, nearly two-thirds are worried they would not be able to afford coverage if the Affordable Care Act is found unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, the public’s views on Medicare for All are becoming more partisan. Some 58% of Democrats now say they have a “very positive” reaction to the term, up from 49% in 2017. However, 51% of Republicans have a “very negative” reaction, compared to 42% in 2017. Overall, the share of people favoring Medicare for All remains steady at 56%.

When it comes to lowering health care costs, both parties are in agreement. Several bipartisan bills to reduce drug prices are working their way through the House and Senate.