Health Care News From the Campaign Trail for the Week of March 21
Republicans are more likely than Democrats to call the U.S. health care system the best in the world, according to a Harvard University School of Public Health and Harris Interactive poll released on Thursday, Reuters reports.
According to the poll, 68% of Republicans said that they consider the U.S. health care system the best in the world, compared with 32% of Democrats and 40% of Independents.
For the poll, researchers from March 5 through March 8 asked a nationally representative sample of 1,026 U.S. residents whether they consider the U.S. health care system the best in the world. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Overall, 45% of residents said that they consider the U.S. health care system the best in the world; 39% disagreed; and 15% said that they did not know or declined to answer, according to the poll.
Twenty-six percent of residents said that the U.S. is better than other nations in efforts to provide affordable health care, and 21% said that the U.S. is better in efforts to control cost, the poll found.
Fifty-five percent of residents said that U.S. patients receive higher quality care than those in other nations, and 53% said that wait times for specialists and hospital admission times were shorter in the U.S., according to the poll (Dunham, Reuters, 3/20).
An economic downturn or recession could help Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) win the Democratic presidential nomination because of "one of her perceived strengths: that she would be better than [Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.)] at controlling surging health care costs," according to pollsters and health care industry experts, Reuters reports.
According to Reuters, health care and other economic issues helped Clinton to win the March 4 Ohio Democratic primary, and Clinton hopes to "repeat her success" in the April 22 Pennsylvania primary, in part by "focusing on her $110 billion universal health care plan as the U.S. economy stumbles."
A Quinnipiac University poll of Pennsylvania Democratic voters found that Clinton leads Obama on the issue of health care by a 56% to 38% margin.
However, "experts question whether health care or any single issue will dramatically alter the state-by-state race for delegates to the party's nominating convention in August, where the candidate for the November election will be chosen," Reuters reports (Szep, Reuters, 3/20).