PatientsLikeMe Poll Reveals Must-Haves for Health Care Law

Nearly 2,800 Patients are United Across Party Lines in Their Priorities for Any Law;

the Majority are Less Inclined to Eliminate or Overhaul the ACA;

Opinions are Split When it Comes to States’ Ability to Opt Out


"provide essential help to the most people"

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a new PatientsLikeMe poll of people living with chronic conditions in all 50 states, 2,755 patients shared their priorities for a nationwide health care plan, and showed they are increasingly in favor of modifying rather than replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“Despite the partisan divide in Congress about what should be included in a health care plan, there is a singular voice in patients, who are agreed across party lines on the essential foundation for any plan,” said Sally Okun, PatientsLikeMe’s Vice President of Advocacy, Policy and Patient Safety. “Our hope is that by amplifying the voice of those with the most experience with our health system, we will influence the Senate to construct the best plan for all Americans.”

The poll was conducted May 4-9, 2017, just as the GOP passed its own version of the health care law in the House of Representatives. Key findings, which are available for anyone to share with their state representatives at, indicate that:

  • Patients are united in their views about what must be in any national health care plan. When asked which elements of a plan should be included to “provide essential help to the most people,” 95% or more of the respondents cite the same seven priorities for coverage:

1. Major medical expenses
2. Preventative care
3. Outpatient visits for chronic illnesses
4. Pre-existing conditions
5. Some costs of prescribed medications
6. Mental health conditions
7. Some costs of medical equipment

  • Patients are now less inclined to eliminate or overhaul the ACA and are more in favor of modifying it. Comparing this poll with PatientsLikeMe’s first poll on the ACA, conducted in January, the number of respondents (n = 628) who said the ACA needs “minor modifications to improve it” rose by more than 5 percent to 56 percent, while the number of respondents who said the ACA “needs a major overhaul” declined by 4 percent to 23 percent. There was a small decline in those who said the ACA should be “totally eliminated.”
  • Nearly half (48 percent) disagree that states should be allowed to opt out of any national replacement plan, while more than one third (35 percent) agree. But when asked if they wanted their own state to opt out, just 22 percent agree with that option.
  • The strongest opinions about opting out were split along party lines, with more Democrats than Republicans believing that states should not be allowed to opt out. Approximately 52 percent of Democrats strongly disagree that states should be allowed to opt out, while 46 percent of Republicans do. When asked if they wanted their own state to opt out, 42 percent of Democrats and 34 percent of Republicans strongly disagree, while 10 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of Republicans strongly agree.
  • Geographic differences also emerged on the question of states opting out. The largest number of overall responses came from California, Texas and Florida, a trio that represents states with two Democratic senators (California), two Republican senators (Texas), and two senators of different parties (Florida). Texans were more than twice as likely to agree that their state should opt out of any plan (36 percent) than Californians (16 percent). Californians were one and a half times more likely to strongly disagree that their state should opt out (45 percent), versus Texans (30 percent). Florida fell somewhere in between, suggesting a connection between the opinions of a state’s residents on this health care policy issue and the political party affiliation of their senators.

Full survey results and graphics are available at

PatientsLikeMe Poll Methodology
Between May 4-9, 2017, PatientsLikeMe fielded a poll of up to 25 questions to a sample of its members in the United States who are living with chronic or progressive degenerative conditions. A total of 2,755 patients completed the poll, which asked original questions about preferred elements of a national health care plan and opinions about states opting out of such a plan.

Respondents had a range of chronic or progressive medical conditions and listed their primary condition as multiple sclerosis (14 percent), fibromyalgia (14 percent), Parkinson’s disease (7 percent), major depressive disorder (9 percent), ALS (4 percent), among many other conditions. Close to 10 percent of respondents reported cancer as one of their conditions. The mean age of respondents was 55.1 years (the range was 18-87). About one-third (34 percent) of patients had health insurance through their employer, more than one-third (37 percent) had Medicare; and the rest had a mix of other health care coverage including Medicaid, VA, military, and direct pay insurance, which includes insurance purchased from ACA exchange programs. A very small percentage (3 percent) of respondents said they had no health insurance. Reported party affiliation is as follows: 34 percent say they are Democrats, 21 percent are Republicans; 20 percent are Independent; 10 percent prefer not to say; 13 percent are unaffiliated and 2 percent are Libertarian.

About PatientsLikeMe
PatientsLikeMe, the world’s largest personalized health network, helps people find new options for treatments, connect with others, and take action to improve their outcomes. The company has worked with every major pharmaceutical company and a range of government organizations to bring the patient voice to research, development and public policy. With 500,000 members, PatientsLikeMe is a trusted source for real-world disease information and a clinically robust resource that has published more than 100 research studies. Visit us at or follow us via our blogTwitter or Facebook.

PatientsLikeMe Health Care Plan Poll Questions
May 4-9, 2017
Answers rounded to nearest 100th

A plan that provides essential help to the most people should include coverage for:

Preventative care (for example, screening tests, vaccinations, and well-child exams)

Strongly agree 86%
Agree 12%
Neutral 1%
Disagree <1%
Strongly disagree <1%

Major medical expenses (hospitalizations, surgeries, and long or complex treatments for serious conditions such as cancer)

Strongly agree 88%
Agree 10%
Neutral 1%
Disagree <1%
Strongly disagree <1%

Outpatient visits for chronic illnesses (for example, diabetes, lupus, high blood pressure)

Strongly agree 85%
Agree 13%
Neutral 2%
Disagree <1%
Strongly disagree <1%

Pregnancy and delivery, including high-risk pregnancies and premature birth

Strongly agree 79%
Agree 15%
Neutral 4%
Disagree 2%
Strongly disagree <1%

Treatment for mental health conditions (for example, bipolar disorder, depression

Strongly agree 81%
Agree 15%
Neutral 3%
Disagree <1%
Strongly disagree <1%

Infertility treatments

Strongly agree 22%
Agree 23%
Neutral 35%
Disagree 15%
Strongly disagree 5%

Some costs of prescribed medications

Strongly agree 81%
Agree 16%
Neutral 2%
Disagree <1%
Strongly disagree <1%

Some costs of medical equipment (for example, wheelchairs, braces and CPAP)

Strongly agree 71%
Agree 24%
Neutral 4%
Disagree <1%
Strongly disagree <1%

Extended care and skilled nursing care (for example, rehabilitation hospitals and nursing homes)

Strongly agree 68%
Agree 26%
Neutral 5%
Disagree 1%
Strongly disagree <1%

All family members, including dependent children up to age 26

Strongly agree 56%
Agree 23%
Neutral 13%
Disagree 6%
Strongly disagree 2%

Telemedicine services (for example, online consultations with your doctor on your computer at home)

Strongly agree 45%
Agree 29%
Neutral 21%
Disagree 5%
Strongly disagree <1%

Pre-existing conditions

Strongly agree 88%
Agree 10%
Neutral 1%
Disagree 1%
Strongly disagree <1%

A plan that provides essential help to the most people should have no lifetime maximums for the amount paid out in coverage.

Strongly agree 73%
Agree 18%
Neutral 6%
Disagree 2%
Strongly disagree 1%

States should be allowed to opt out of parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) or any national replacement plan

Strongly agree 20%
Agree 15%
Neutral 17%
Disagree 19%
Strongly disagree 29%

I want my state to opt out of parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) or any national replacement plan

Strongly agree 13%
Agree 9%
Neutral 23%
Disagree 17%
Strongly disagree 37%

When it comes to your opinion about the healthcare law (the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare), do you feel that it…

Is working well the way it is 6%
Needs minor modifications to improve it 56%
Needs a major overhaul 23%
Should be totally eliminated 9%
Other 3%
Not sure 4%

Since the last PatientsLikeMe survey on the Affordable Care Act back in January, how much of a priority for you is repealing the 2010 healthcare law (also called the Affordable Care Act (or ACA) or Obamacare)? (n = 628)

Top priority 17%
Important but not a top priority 21%
Not too important 8%
Should not be done 54%

What is your political party affiliation?

Democrat 34%
Green Party <1%
Independent 20%
Libertarian 2%
Republican 21%
Unaffiliated 13%
I prefer not to say 10%

What type of health insurance do you have?

Private (through employer or union) 34%
Direct (individual or family plan you buy) 8%
Medicare 13%
Medicaid or other low-income 13%
government plan
Veteran's Administration (VA) 3%
TRICARE or other military 2%
health insurance
Indian Health Service <1%
Other type of insurance 2%
No insurance 3%

Multimedia Files:

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(Graphic: Business Wire)
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(Graphic: Business Wire)
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(Graphic: Business Wire)


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