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Americans believe wounded Iraq war veterans are not receiving high quality medical care in US
Date:5/24/2008

As part of the ongoing poll series, Debating Health: Election 2008, a recent survey by the Harvard Opinion Research Program at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Harris Interactive finds that a majority of Americans (62%) believe that wounded Iraq war veterans do not receive high quality care in military and Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals once they return to the U.S. Similar majorities feel that veterans requiring rehabilitation care and mental health care do not receive high quality care (62% and 65% respectively). This survey follows a number of recent news stories on the quality of health care provided to Iraq war veterans.

Americans who have a close family member who is serving or has served in the military are just as likely as Americans with no military connection to say that wounded Iraq veterans do not receive high quality care in military and VA hospitals (64% versus 59%). These Americans with a military connection are slightly more likely than other Americans to say Iraq veterans do not receive high quality rehabilitation (65% versus 57%) and mental health care (68% versus 61%).

The quality of medical care that wounded soldiers receive on the front lines in Iraq has gotten more favorable news coverage than the care that war veterans receive in the U.S. Many reports have noted that wounded soldiers who would not have survived their injuries in previous wars are surviving today due to the high quality medical care they receive in Iraq. Although more Americans feel that wounded soldiers get high quality care on the front lines in Iraq (47%) than they do in military hospitals once they return to the U.S. (31%), a nearly equal percentage (43%) feel they do not get high quality care on the front lines. Ten percent said they do not know.

A majority (60%) of Americans feel that the health care wounded Iraq war veterans receive in military and VA hospitals is better (10%) or the same (50%) compared to what they
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Contact: Robin Herman
rherman@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-4752
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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