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Pre-election surveys show deep concern about state of health care
Date:10/30/2008

With only a few days remaining before Election Day, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and the Kaiser Family Foundation, writing for the November 6, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine, find that seven in ten registered voters say major changes are needed in the U.S. health care system.

The article, written by Robert J. Blendon, Sc.D., Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, Drew E. Altman, Ph.D., President of the Kaiser Family Foundation and five co-authors, is the second in a series of reports published in NEJM examining how the election can provide insights about future health policy. The article examines the public's perceptions of the state of the American health care system, the role of health care as a 2008 election issue, and the contrasting health policy views of registered voters who intend to vote for Senator McCain and Senator Obama. The findings are based on a Kaiser/Harvard survey of registered voters in September, as well as other surveys this year and historical Election Day exit polls. The first article in the series, released in January 2008, examined health care's role in each party's presidential primaries.

"Voters want a major change in health care," said Robert J. Blendon, Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, "but a new administration is going to have to face the very real divide that exists between McCain and Obama supporters on the shape of future reform."

"Health care is a part of the economic anxieties of the public. People are having major problems getting and paying for health care and, if this trend continues, addressing health care as part of the nation's economic turmoil may be a priority for the nation's next president," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman.

While voters are dissatisfied with the current health care system, they may have very different views
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-3952
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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