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Health Provisions Among Public's Top Priorities For Economic Stimulus
Date:1/15/2009

o involve negotiating the very different views of rank and file Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are significantly more likely to place a priority on action on health care, which ranks second on their priority agenda (61% say it is a top priority), compared to Republicans, who rank it eighth (23%). More than three-quarters (77%) of Democrats think health reform "is more important than ever" due to the economy, while six in ten (62%) Republicans believe the nation "cannot afford to take on health reform now." Democrats are more likely to favor a big push on coverage, and as noted above, more willing to pay for it. The partisan divide on spending also extends to SCHIP: more than six in ten (62%) Democrats and a majority (55%) of political independents want to see the Congress and President-elect Obama increase spending on the program, while less than three in ten (29%) Republicans would agree.

Public's Other Favored Health Policy Priorities

While reforming the nation's health care system is on the mind of Americans, they also approve of other ideas to alter federal health care policy or spending. Allowing the federal government to use its buying power to negotiate lower prescription prices with drug companies is the most popular proposal in the survey - supported by nine in ten (90%). Eight in ten (79%) favor filling the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole." Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the public support spending more on medical care for veterans.

The survey results are available online at http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/posr011509pkg.cfm. A webcast of today's Washington briefing where the survey was released will be available there today by 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Methodology

The Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health Survey, The Public's Health Car
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
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