Health care tops the list of issues voters are most concerned about, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. It looks like voters are ready to hold Republicans accountable for their votes, including politicians like Congressman Steve Knight of Palmdale, who championed policies that sent health care premiums skyrocketing.
“Asked about their top issues for November, 22 percent of voters said health care was their first choice,” according to NBC. Health care beat out other hot button issues such as immigration, tax policy, the economy, and gun violence.
This poll is the latest in a string of polls showing health care is top of mind for voters heading into the midterm elections. And some health care advocates hope increased voter recognition of this issue will hold Republicans’ feet to the fire.
“Republicans will bear self-inflicted wounds because of the party’s obsession with repealing and sabotaging health care instead of working on bipartisan solutions to address skyrocketing costs,” says Brad Woodhouse, campaign director of Protect Our Care.
Knight and Republicans in Congress voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, legislation that has helped millions of Americans gain access to health insurance. The bill Knight voted for to replace the ACA would have caused more than 45,000 of his own constituents to lose health insurance. Across America, the Knight-backed bill would have caused more than 22 million people to lose health insurance.
Knight also voted in favor of an “age tax,” a provision in the bill that would have allowed insurance companies to charge people aged 50-64 up to fives times as much for health insurance as younger people. The ACA capped the amount insurers could charge that group at three times what they charge younger people. The AARP estimated this change would have cost older Americans thousands of dollars per year in higher costs.
Despite the damage his vote would have done, Knight sided with Trump and against his own constituents. Knight’s near-perfect record of voting with Trump does not sit well with voters, according to the NBC/WSJ poll.
Voters are looking for a member of Congress to be a check on Trump, not rubber stamp his agenda. “By 55-28, voters in competitive House districts are more likely to support a congressional candidate who has opposed Trump most of the time,” reports the Washington Post.
Not only is Knight’s district competitive, Knight is routinely listed as one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the entire country. Yet despite his vulnerability, in a district that supported Hillary Clinton, Knight has voted in favor of the Trump agenda 99 percent of the time.
As an op-ed in the Washington Post states:
Trump and his policies are deeply unpopular. Voters know he’s corrupt and authoritarian — those things are two sides of the same coin. They know he lies nonstop and is a racist and has a dangerously destructive temperament. They don’t know the details about the Russia probe, but they think it is legitimately grounded in the rule of law and is investigating genuinely important allegations, they think it will probably produce revelations of wrongdoing, and they think Trump is trying to obstruct it. They want a check on Trump’s corruption, policies, and temperament — his racist and authoritarian tendencies included.
Whether it is health care, an unpopular tax bill that hurts Californians, or any other issue, Knight will turn to Trump — and turn his back on constituents — nearly every single time.