Harris Poll Finds Majority Prefers Medicare Rx, Public Health Boost
The American public considers creating a Medicare prescription drug benefit and strengthening the public health system to be more important "health care priorities" than a patients' bill of rights or overall Medicare reform, according to a new Harris Interactive poll. In a survey of 2,053 adults, conducted in November 2001, 48% of respondents said that they viewed a Medicare drug benefit as "extremely important," and 42% said that improving the public health system to "detect, diagnose, treat and prevent infectious and other diseases" was extremely important. Thirty-seven percent said that Medicare reform and a patients bill of rights were extremely important. When asked which of the health policy issues was "most important," 32% of respondents said the Medicare drug benefit; 30% said the public health system; 18% said a patients' bill of rights; and 16% said Medicare reform, but responses varied by group. While 51% of people 65 or older said that a Medicare drug benefit should be the "top priority," only 15% of those ages 18 to 24 responded in the same way. Instead, 44% of people 18 to 24 said that strengthening the public health system was the most important issue. Only 14% of people ages 65 and older said that the public health system was their top issue (Harris Interactive release, 1/10). The poll results are available online at http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters/healthnews/HIHealthCareNews2002Vol2_Iss01.pdf. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the results.