HANOVER, N.H. — Health care points are essential to Lana Leggett-Kealey, who works as a genetic genealogist. But on Tuesday, as she walked out of her polling place at a neighborhood highschool and right into a frigid New England morning, she mentioned she had one thing larger on her thoughts when she solid her vote.
“I want to make sure we have someone competent in the White House,” she mentioned. She wrote in President Joe Biden’s title on her poll in New Hampshire’s Democratic main.
The Affordable Care Act’s future is essential to Robert Stanhope, a retired invoice collector. He mentioned he additionally wrote in Biden, whose administration has labored to scale back prices underneath the ACA.
But that wasn’t his motivation for his early-morning go to to the polls. “I’m here to keep Trump out of office,” Stanhope mentioned.
Dave Avery, 61, of Merrimack, New Hampshire, mentioned well being care wasn’t on his thoughts both. He sought to place the previous president again within the White House. “Immigration and the economy are my issues,” he mentioned. “We also need more money to stay in our country.”
Voters casting their first ballots within the 2024 presidential election cycle on Tuesday framed well being care as a back-burner problem, capping years of political wrangling over Obamacare and a pandemic that strained the nation’s well being system.
Donald Trump defeated former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley within the state’s GOP main, based on The Associated Press. Biden, who didn’t seem on the poll because of disagreements over the first schedule, gained the Democratic contest owing partly to a vigorous write-in marketing campaign.
In interviews with greater than 50 voters this week in New Hampshire — a state the place 95% of residents have medical insurance, one of many highest charges within the nation — most individuals mentioned their vote was about Trump, like him or hate him. But well being care issues — about prices, entry, and, particularly amongst Democrats, abortion — weren’t removed from many citizens’ minds.
“I have two daughters and five sisters and a mom, so making sure women’s reproductive rights are protected is important to me,” mentioned Rob Houseman, 60, a city official in Hanover. Worried that Republicans will attempt to “weaponize health care” as a substitute of guaranteeing entry, he mentioned he voted for Biden.
Many against Trump cited issues about his health to guide, whereas most Trump voters who spoke with KFF Health News mentioned they supported him for 2 important causes: They hoped he would scale back unlawful immigration and decrease inflation.
Democratic voters have been extra possible than Republicans to quote heath care as a key problem within the election.
“Oh my, yes,” mentioned Ben Gilson, 90, a retired orthopedic surgeon. “Health care is my No. 1 issue.”
While he mentioned he has wonderful protection and pays little in out-of-pocket prices, he worries many youthful individuals battle and needs to verify Obamacare is retained. One of Trump’s earliest guarantees throughout his 2016 marketing campaign was to repeal and exchange the ACA — a vow he has just lately revived in his newest try to win the White House.
Elaine Kozma, 73, of New London mentioned well being care points are vitally essential to her as a most cancers survivor. She mentioned she voted for Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, whom she thinks she will be able to belief greater than Trump.
In New London, Kate Turcotte, a professor at Colby-Sawyer College, mentioned she voted for Biden to maintain Trump out of workplace — and since she trusts Democrats extra to enhance well being protection and defend abortion rights.
She mentioned she additionally worries Trump will attempt to lower well being take care of probably the most susceptible. “Health care should be a right, not a privilege,” she mentioned.
Trump voters steadily cited immigration as a prime concern. Republicans have accused Biden of permitting file numbers of immigrants to cross into the U.S. from Mexico.
In Merrimack, Mary Clancy, 69, mentioned she was glad together with her Medicare protection and was voting for Trump primarily to safe the southern border.
Kathy Franqui, 54, of Merrimack, mentioned the border and immigration have been her important causes for voting for Trump. But she additionally mentioned Trump would scale back well being prices.
Tim Beauchene, 48, of Hanover, who’s a cook dinner at Dartmouth College, mentioned he’s involved concerning the rise of costs for medical care, together with different items and companies. His vote for Trump “was more about the economy,” he mentioned. “Prices are so high in the grocery store and for gas.” Prices for normal unleaded in New Hampshire averaged $3.03 a gallon on Tuesday, based on the AAA auto membership.
At a espresso store in Warner, Susan Hencke, 62, mentioned she pays $1,100 a month for medical insurance. But she mentioned well being care was not among the many elements figuring out how she would vote.
She mentioned having a president who will defend civil rights issues most to her. She was undecided about whom to assist.
Both she and her husband, who declined to provide his title, mentioned they have been involved about abortion restrictions Trump could impose.
Sitting exterior the espresso store within the freezing climate was Art Sullivan, 75, of Hooksett, who mentioned immigration was his overriding problem within the election — and why he was voting for Trump.
Asked if he had been personally affected by immigration, he mentioned he was frightened his youngsters must shoulder the monetary burden of individuals coming into the U.S. with out authorization.
“The border is a disgrace,” mentioned Sullivan, who mentioned he’s a registered unbiased voter and sells swimming swimming pools.
Asked if well being care was one thing he thought of when evaluating candidates, he mentioned he had a Medicare Advantage plan that covers his payments and supplies entry to care.
DJ Annicchiarico, co-owner of United Shoe Repair in downtown Concord, mentioned he’s a registered Democrat. But whereas he prefers Biden on well being points, he’s not but persuaded to vote for him in November.
His important concern is inflation. He mentioned the ACA, which he described as a step in the best path, had helped decrease his insurance coverage premiums however hadn’t managed well being care costs. “Something needs to be done to rein in inflation,” he mentioned.
Annicchiarico mentioned he needs to see well being care costs regulated by the federal authorities and worries Trump would attempt to repeal the ACA. He famous entry continues to be a difficulty and mentioned getting a dermatology appointment for his daughter meant ready eight months.
Aalianna Marietta, 21, a university pupil, mentioned well being care was essential to her, notably abortion rights, so she can be voting for Biden. “I am 100% pro-choice, and I cannot see myself voting for someone who is racist and a misogynist,” she mentioned of Trump.
Deb Shope, 57, out strolling her canine in Lebanon, mentioned well being care is a prime problem for her as a result of she works as a medical social employee and sees how essential good well being protection will be. She mentioned she was voting for Biden as a result of she preferred how he has tried to assist individuals get protection and deal with their psychological well being care wants.
Shope mentioned it’s exhausting to look past how Trump acts as an individual. Asked if she is frightened about him getting reelected, she mentioned individuals shouldn’t fear about issues out of their management.
(KFF Health News, previously often called Kaiser Health News (KHN), is a nationwide newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about well being points and is likely one of the core working applications of KFF — the unbiased supply for well being coverage analysis, polling and journalism.)
©2024 KFF Health News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.