Poll: Voters Overwhelmingly Support Urgent Action to Permanently Protect Access to Telehealth
Broad-Based Majorities Recognize Benefits of Virtual Care and Support Congressional Solutions to Safeguard Coverage
Washington, D.C – Telehealth Access for America (TAFA), a public education campaign that aims to protect access to critical telehealth services, released the findings of a national voter survey Tuesday that demonstrates overwhelming public support for urgent action in Congress to permanently protect access to telehealth services.
“Access to telehealth is vital to achieving better health outcomes, greater health equity, more patient choice, and a more efficient health care system,” said Telehealth Access for America spokesperson Julia Mirich. “Voters believe in the positive impact of telehealth and their broad-based support for permanent solutions to protect access is clear. Lawmakers should act swiftly to avert the telehealth cliff through permanent reform that safeguards coverage and flexibility for virtual care.”
“One of the unfortunate truths about the U.S. health care system is that zip codes determine health outcomes and overall life expectancy,” Mirich said. “The even greater support for permanent solutions to safeguard access to telehealth from voters of color, voters who face financial insecurity, and voters who live long distances from their health care provider demonstrates how critical telehealth is to addressing disparities in the health care system.”
The survey of 1,000 registered voters was commissioned by Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) and conducted by Moore Information Group from October 4-10, 2021. Key takeaways include:
The majority of voters have a positive opinion of telehealth and believe it is improving overall health care quality.
- 66 Percent: 66 percent of U.S. voters have a positive opinion of telehealth compared to just 14 percent with a negative view.
- Two-to-One: By a margin greater than two-to-one, voters believe the availability of telehealth services “improves overall health care quality.”
Voters who have recently used telehealth services, including seniors, overwhelmingly viewed the experience as positive.
- Three in Five: Nearly three in five voters (61 percent) say they have utilized telehealth services in the past 12 months. Of those that have utilized telehealth in the past year:
- 66 percent are concerned about not being able to pay medical costs for healthcare.
- 70 percent have to travel more than 30 minutes on average to visit the doctor or other medical health care professional they visit most often.
- Nine in Ten: Of those that have utilized telehealth services in the past year, nine in ten (90 percent) had a positive experience.
- 87 Percent: 87 percent of seniors who have used a telehealth service in the last year have a positive view of the experience.
The majority of voters recognize the benefits of telehealth and strongly support continued access to these services.
- Eight in Ten: The overwhelming majority of voters – more than eight in ten – view the federal government’s decision to lift restrictions on telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic as positive (81 percent). Just eight percent have a negative view.
- More Than Nine in Ten: Voters overwhelmingly support continued access to telehealth services — including two-thirds of voters who “strongly support” each of these components of safeguarding access to virtual care:
- 93 percent of voters agree that patients and consumers should have the choice to see a licensed clinician virtually.
- 94 percent of voters believe that health care providers should have the option to offer telehealth services to Americans who prefer it.
- 92 percent of voters believe that Americans should have the choice to access telehealth services after the pandemic ends, regardless of whether they live in a rural or urban area.
Telehealth supports greater health equity and voters overwhelmingly want Congress to permanently protect access to telehealth services:
- 78 Percent: 78 percent of voters support the passage of legislation to permanently protect access to telehealth services. This includes:
- Strong majorities across party lines, including 69 percent of Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats.
- Voters who face financial insecurity, live a long distance from their health care provider and who come from communities of color support permanent protections for telehealth at even higher rates — highlighting how access to telehealth services is critical to addressing disparities in the health care system:
- 84 percent of voters worried about being able to pay health care costs support permanent solutions to protect access.
- 83 percent of voters who have to drive more than 30 minutes to visit a medical provider support permanent solutions to protect access.
- 86 percent of African American voters and 82 percent of Hispanic voters support permanent solutions to protect access.
- 0 Percent: Critically, support for legislation to permanently protect access to telehealth is not reduced at all (and remains at 78 percent) after voters are told “critics of this plan believe it will raise health care costs for the government, because Medicare and Medicaid will be paying for telehealth AND in-person visits.”
See Moore Information Group’s summary of the survey findings HERE.
ABOUT TELEHEALTH ACCESS FOR AMERICA
Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) is a public education campaign supported by leaders in health care committed to better care, expanded patient choice, and protecting access to critical telehealth services.