MANAGED CARE REFORM: 63% Call Issue ‘Very Important’
Almost two-thirds of Americans will look at candidates' records on protecting patients' rights when they go to the polls in November, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released today. Sixty-one percent identified a candidate's history of protecting the Medicare system as a "very important" issue in the midterm elections, putting those two health care issues right below education, crime and the economy on the voters' agenda. Twenty-five percent of respondents called patients' rights a "potential deciding factor" in how they vote in the fall, and 26% said the same of Medicare. When asked if Medicare and patients' rights would be an important issue in November, only 2% of respondents said "not at all" (Post/ABC poll, 7/14). Voters see patients' rights as one of several "big problems for Washington to tackle," the Post reports (Balz/Deane, 7/14). But analyst Gary Langer said the upcoming elections will see "no silver bullet" issue, as few voters could identify one that would be the deciding factor at the polls.
It's My Party
The Democratic party boasts the most public trust on major health care issues, with 53% of respondents saying they trust the Democrats more to handle patients' rights and 54% saying the same with respect to Medicare. Twenty-nine percent said they trusted Republicans more to protect patients' rights and 32% said they have more faith in the GOP's ability to protect Medicare. Of the 1,511 adults surveyed last week, 6% said they trust neither party to protect patients' rights (Post/ABC poll, 7/14). "The public ... has more confidence in Democrats to protect the rights of patients, an issue with enough potency to cause Republicans in Congress to draft their own legislation that will be debated this month," the Post reports (Balz/Deane, 7/14). The survey, conducted by Horsham, PA-based Chilton Research, had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. Click here to see the complete results of the Washington Post/ABC News poll.