Health Care Costs Loom Over Midterms as Trump Prepares His Drug Pricing Speech

(Photo: Maudib / Getty Images)(Photo: Maudib / Getty Images)

President Donald Trump may not be up for re-election quite yet, but for many voters, the midterm elections are shaping up to be a referendum on the first two years of his made-for-TV presidency.

new poll shows that voters in major political parties are more concerned about a midterm candidate’s stance on Trump more than any other policy question, followed closely by a candidate’s “character and experience.” Trump is expected to deliver a long-awaited speech today laying out plans to lower pharmaceutical prices — another top priority for voters in both parties.

Trump looms largest in battleground areas where Democrats are running competitive races in districts that traditionally lean Republican. In these areas, 31 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of Republicans say a candidate’s support for or opposition to Trump would have the most impact on how they vote for Congress. Another 31 percent of Democrats in battleground areas say health care is their top issue.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care policy tank, released the poll on Thursday. Pollsters found that health care costs are one of the top policy issues motivating voters of all stripes this year, along with gun policy and job growth. Another recent Kaiser poll found that a majority of voters say lowering the cost of pharmaceutical drugs should be the top priority on Capitol Hill, and most believe the pharmaceutical industry has far too much power in Washington.

The results come as Trump prepares to deliver a speech on drug prices that has been postponed at least twice, leaving observers to wonder whether Trump and his health czar Alex Azar, a former Bush administration health official and pharmaceutical executive, were rethinking their approach to bringing down costs.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry has been on a multimillion-dollar lobbying blitz, as Truthout reported last week. Drug giant Novartis revealed this week that it had entered into a $1.2 million…

Read more