Data Brief | No. 154 | August 2023

Florida Residents Worried about High Drug Costs; Support a Range of Government Solutions

According to a survey of more than 1,300 Florida adults, conducted from May 3 to May 23, 2023,
respondents are concerned about prescription drug costs and express a strong desire for
policymakers to enact solutions.

More than half (53%) of survey respondents reported being somewhat or very worried about
affording the cost of prescription drugs. Worry varied substantially by income group, with
respondents in households making less than $50,000 per year1 experiencing the most worry (see
Figure 1). However, it is important to note that a large percentage of households making above
$75,000 per year also reported worrying about prescription drugs.

DB_154_FL_Rx Affordability Brief 2023_Figure1.png

In addition to being worried about prescription drug affordability in the future, many Florida
respondents have skipped, delayed, or avoided care altogether in the prior 12 months due to the
cost. Indeed, over 1 in 4 respondents (28%) reported rationing medication by either not filling
a prescription, cutting pills in half, or skipping a dose of medicine in the last year due to cost (see
Figure 2).

DB_154_FL_Rx Affordability Brief 2023_Figure2.png

DB_154_FL_Rx Affordability Brief 2023_Table1.png

These hardships disproportionately impact people in lower-income households. As Table 1 shows,
respondents living in households earning less than $50,000 and those earning between $50,000 and
$75,000 per year reported higher rates of rationing their prescription medicines than respondents
living in higher-income households. However, these hardships are alarmingly prevalent in middle-
income households as well.

Respondents with Florida Medicaid coverage reported the highest rates of rationing medication
compared to other insurance types, followed by those with private insurance. Finally, respondents
living in households with a person with a disability reported notably higher rates of rationing
medication due to cost in the past 12 months compared to respondents without a disabled household
member (see Table 1).

Considering these prescription drug cost concerns—as well as concerns about high healthcare costs
generally2—it is not surprising that Florida respondents were generally dissatisfied with the health

  • Just 30% agreed or strongly agreed that “we have a great healthcare system in the U.S.,”
  • While 68% agreed or strongly agreed that “the system needs to change.”

When given more than 20 options, the options cited most frequently as being a "major reason" for
high healthcare costs were:

  • 72%—Drug companies charging too much money
  • 69%—Hospitals charging too much money
  • 66%—Insurance companies charging too much money

When it comes to tackling high drug costs, Florida respondents endorsed a number of prescription
drug-related strategies:

  • 90%—Cap out-of-pocket costs for life-saving medications, such as insulin
  • 90%—Require drug companies to provide advanced notice of price increases and information to justify those increases
  • 89%—Authorize the Attorney General to take legal action to prevent price gouging or unfair prescription drug price hikes
  • 89%—Set standard prices for drugs to make them affordable
  • 87%—Prohibit drug companies from charging more in the U.S. than abroad
  • 85%—Create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to examine the evidence and establish acceptable costs for drugs

Moreover, there is substantial support for government action on drug costs regardless of the
respondent’s political affiliation (see Table 2).

While Florida respondents are united in calling for the government to address high drug costs, they
also see a role for themselves:

  • 73% would switch from a brand name to an equivalent generic drug if given a chance
  • 55% find, or have tried to find, out the cost of a drug beforehand

DB_154_FL_Rx Affordability Brief 2023_Table2.png


The high burden of healthcare and prescription drug affordability, along with high levels of support
for change, suggests that elected leaders and other stakeholders need to make addressing this
consumer burden a top priority. Moreover, the COVID crisis has led state residents to take a hard
look at how well health and public health systems are working for them, with strong support for a
wide variety of actions. Annual surveys can help assess whether progress is being made.


  1. Median household income in Florida was $61,777 (2017-2021). U.S. Census, Quick Facts. Retrieved from: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Florida
  2. For more detailed information about healthcare affordability burdens facing Florida respondents, please see Healthcare Value Hub, Florida Residents Struggle to Afford High Healthcare Costs; Worry About Affording Healthcare in the Future; Support Government Action across Party Lines, Data Brief No. 152 (August 2023).


Altarum’s Consumer Healthcare Experience State Survey (CHESS) is designed to elicit respondents’ unbiased views on a wide range of health system issues, including confidence using the health system, financial burden and possible policy solutions.

This survey, conducted from April 25 to May 23, 2023, used a web panel from online survey company Dynata with a demographically balanced sample of approximately 1,514 respondents who live in Florida. Information about Dynata’s recruitment and compensation methods can be found here. The survey was conducted in English or Spanish and restricted to adults ages 18 and older. Respondents who finished the survey in less than half the median time were excluded from the final sample, leaving 1,376 cases for analysis. After those exclusions, the demographic composition of respondents was as follows, although not all demographic information has complete response rates:

DB_154_FL_Rx Affordability Brief 2023_Methodology.png

Percentages in the body of the brief are based on weighted values, while the data presented in the demographic table is unweighted. An explanation of weighted versus unweighted variables is available here. Altarum does not conduct statistical calculations on the significance of differences between groups in findings. Therefore, determinations that one group experienced a significantly different affordability burden than another should not be inferred. Rather, comparisons are for conversational purposes. The groups selected for this brief were selected by advocate partners in each state based on organizational/advocacy priorities. We do not report any estimates under N=100 and a co-efficient
of variance more than 0.30.