HEALTH CARE REFORM: Public Hitches Its Wagon to Democrats
The public sees health care as the single most pressing problem that the government should address, and they trust Democrats more than Republicans in seeing it through, according to a new CBS News poll. When asked an open-ended question, 14% of adults surveyed said health care is the most important problem to be tackled in the coming year, outpacing old favorites like Social Security (8%), education (5%) and taxes (5%). But while Congress debated HMO reform, respondents nonetheless cited the problem of the uninsured as the biggest health care problem, with 18% listing it as their main concern. Sixteen percent said cost was their biggest concern, while 8% said elder care and 8% said "HMOs in general." When asked what type of changes should be made to the health care system, a whopping 86% said the current situation either requires fundamental changes or a wholesale rebuilding of the system, while only 12% said minor changes would suffice. With respect to the role of political parties in the debate, 49% said the Democrats were more likely to improve the system, while 27% put more faith in the GOP. On the current patients' rights debate, respondents favored giving patients the right to sue by a margin of 69% to 21%. Even when told such a provision may increase costs, 54% still supported the measure, as opposed to 35% against. When party labels are attached to the positions, 65% support the Democratic proposal, while 30% support the Republican version. The poll of 722 adults was conducted July 13-14. It has a margin of error of +/- 4% (release, 7/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.