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Voters Speak: Give Us Health Care!

Posted by: Jane Sasseen on October 07

From our colleague Cathy Arnst:

Plenty of political experts think health care reform has dropped to a very low priority in the election in the wake of the financial crisis gripping the U.S.. But voters appear to think differently, according to a new national poll from Marist College. An overwhelming 78% of voters responded that the next president should deal with health care reform even it means greater government debt, while just 17% said the next president should not address health care in light of the economic crisis. When broken down by party, 90% of registered Democrats, 67% of Republicans and 73% of independents say the next president should deal with the health care crisis regardless of national finances.

When asked what should be the top health care priority, 51% of voters chose affordability, while 40% opted for covering the uninsured. And 70% said they view health care reform as more important than cutting taxes; 27% chose taxes off health care. The poll meshes with recent surveys finding that insurance premiums continue to rise faster than the rate of inflation, as they have for the past decade and that 19.4% of Americans in families had trouble paying their medical bills last year.

Voters were also clear on which candidate they thought might do a better job on health care. In the Marist poll, 51% of those surveyed considered Obama the better candidate to tackle health care issues, vs 38% for Sen.John McCain.

All of that has health care activists hopeful that the issue will regain visibility on the campaign trail as the presidential race heads down to the wire, as this story on points out.

The poll sampled 801 adults 18 or older by phone on Sept.24 and 25th.

Reader Comments

Carol Eblen

October 7, 2008 05:07 PM

Don't know about the accuracy of these polls.

Personally, I think Polls are like Horoscopes in that both are highly suggestive and inaccurate and do, unfortunately, influence the minds of the readers of the Polls and the Horoscopes when published in national publications.

Unfortunately, our country's HUGE debt and the condition of our economy will work against National Health Insurance for Americans. The health of our big banks and the investment community and the size of this Bailout and perhaps other bailouts to come will mean that the ugly status quo of "health care" in this country will remain low priority, as usual, in either a Democrat or a Republican Congress.

Do you think that either of our Presidential Candidates are going to make promises in tonight's debate without hedging the promise upon the state of the budget when they inherit the Mess that Treasury Secretary Paulson is handing to them?

I'm with Ralph Nader who has always suggested that we Americans haven't demanded from our Government what the other advanced Western Nations have given their citizens many years ago. We may be a great beacon of HOPE but those foreigners who come to live in this country and to do business go back home when they get sick. Our sick and uninsured in this country grows and there is no Beacon of light for them on the horizon.
The only reason that National Health Care Insurance had a chance of passing this time is because it has become so expensive for large and small corporations who would like to pass off this expense of health care to the government, for both current and retired employees. Perhaps this is especially true since the pension funds will be adversely affected by the failure of some of the failed investments in derivatives that are held by corporate pension and public pension funds.

Hopefully, the Bailout will ensure that these large funds will be able to keep their commitments to their current and retired employees.

Who knows? Maybe health insurance will have a bearing on the bailout in ways that are yet unknown?

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.


Election 2008

Washington Bureau Chief Jane Sasseen and other BusinessWeek writers cover the run-up to the Nov. 4 presidential election, paying close attention to how the candidates will handle issues such as housing, the economy, unemployment, and immigration.

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