AAJ Poll: Red State Voters Reject Bill That Decimates Patient Safety

A new Public Policy Polling survey commissioned by the American Association for Justice finds that voters in seven states are decisively opposed to H.R. 1215.

Voters in traditionally "red" states are appalled by a proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives that strips patients and nursing home residents of their legal rights to hold the health care industry accountable if they are injured or killed by a medical provider, or a dangerous drug or device. The bill, deceptively named the "protecting Access to Care Act" (H.R. 1215), is expected to face a vote in Congress soon. According to a recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, at least 63% of voters in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah oppose the bill. In all seven states, this coalition of opposition includes majorities and pluralities of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, women, men, and voters in all three age groups polled. Among the seven states polled, the highest level of support for the bill was just 24% while the lowest was 16%.

Political costs for members of Congress who support the bill are high. At least 58% of voters in all seven states say they would be less likely to vote to re-elect their representative if he or she supported the bill. This includes majorities and pluralities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in every state. 

Key findings from the survey include:

  • In every state polled, opposition to H.R. 1215 grew as voters heard more about the measure. After listening to a series of statements about the details and potential consequences of the bill, voters strengthened their opposition to the bill by at least one percentage point and up to six points in all seven states. 
  • Voters were most impacted by statements outlining the legislation’s implications for their own personal health and the health of their loved ones. In every state, at least 75% had either “very serious” or “somewhat serious” concerns about the bill’s potential to exacerbate the issue of preventable medical deaths, and at least 77% had similar concerns about stripping away their legal protections as patients. 
  • Voters are unified in their support for holding accountable neglectful nursing homes, which would be protected under H.R. 1215. At least 77% of voters in every state think they should have the ability to take nursing homes to court if one of their loved ones was neglected or abused while a resident of a nursing home.

PPP surveyed 4,069 Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah voters from  March 23-24, 2017.  The margin of error for the survey is  +/-1.5 %. This poll was conducted by automated telephone interviews.

Details by state: