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Poll analysis: Americans have conflicting views about spending on public health system
Date:11/9/2010

Boston, MAA comprehensive review of national opinion polls shows that Americans have conflicting views about the nation's public health system and are divided along partisan lines in their support of additional spending on public health programs. A majority supports increased spending on public health in general and sees public health interventions as saving money in the long term. At the same time, however, many do not favor increased spending on a number of areas that public health officials deem important and do not see their state health department as doing a good job preventing chronic illnesses.

The analysis, by Robert J. Blendon, Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, and three co-authors, appears in the November issue of Health Affairs. The article, which draws on results from 12 national opinion polls, provides an in-depth examination of Americans' views about the nation's public health system.

Link to article: http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/29/11/2033

"In order to sustain public support for increased spending, it will be critically important to give specific examples of cost savings from public health programs and to highlight how specific public health programs have reduced mortality from major chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS," said Blendon.

With growing concern about the federal budget deficit, there is likely to be a debate about whether the public health funds in the health care reform law passed earlier this year should be fully funded.

Polls show that three-fourths of Americans believe the U.S. is spending too little on improving and protecting the nation's health. A majority also sees long-term savings from spending on measures to improve health and prevention.

However, Americans do not believe the nation's publi
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-998-8819
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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