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Gallup: Independents Struggle to Pay for Health Care

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Independents may be much more likely to have trouble paying for health care or medicine than Republicans are, and Democrats may have almost as much trouble paying for care.

Dan Witters and other analysts at Gallup, Princeton, N.J., have published data supporting that conclusion in a summary of results from Gallup surveys of 400,000 U.S. adults conducted from Jan. 2, 2011, through March 31, 2012.

The analysts found that Republicans generally reported having an easier time paying for the necessities of life than Democrats or independents reported, and that independents reported having the most problems.

Only 13.9% of the Republicans told pollsters they had struggled to pay for care or medicine, compared with 19.6% of the Democrats and about 21.2% of the independents.

Just 11% of the Republicans said they were uninsured, compared with 15.3% of the Democrats and 21.7% of the independents.

Similar gaps showed up when Gallup asked about access to food: 12.7% of the Republicans said they had trouble paying for food. Paying for food has been a challenge for 20% of the Democrats and 21.4% of the independents in the sample.

Some of the basics access gap may be due to the fact that Republicans tend to have higher incomes than other U.S. adults, but the Gallup analysts say they believe the gap has to do with more than obvious demographic differences.

“Even when controlling for income and other demographic factors, Republicans still maintain an advantage over Democrats and independents, possibly suggesting a more robust social support infrastructure of family and friends,” the analysts say. “Still, the direction of the relationship between party identification and access to basics isn’t clear. It is possible, for example, that the noted relationship between a Republican political identity and basic access could go in the other direction — that people who have ascertained a lifestyle that ensures them of meeting their basic needs are more likely to identify with the ideological and political orientation of the Republican Party.”


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