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Survey: Disease prevention top priority for health care reform

June 9, 2009
by Editorial Staff
ISHN

Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released a new public opinion survey yesterday which finds that Americans rank prevention as the most important health care reform priority, and overwhelmingly support increased funding for prevention programs to reduce disease and keep people healthy. In the poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, 70 percent of Americans ranked investing in prevention between an eight and 10 on a scale of zero to ten, where zero means "not at all an important health care priority" and 10 means "very important." Forty-six percent rated prevention 10 out of 10. Overall, prevention was rated higher than all other proposals, including providing tax credits to small businesses and prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage based on health status.

Americans believe the nation needs to put more emphasis on prevention (59 percent) rather than thinking there needs to be more emphasis on treatment (15 percent), by nearly a four to one ratio. This represents a significant shift toward prevention over the last two decades - in 1987, only 45 thought there should be greater emphasis on prevention. The poll, which reflects the responses from 1,014 registered voters, was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies from May 7 to 12, 2009, and is available at www.healthyamericans.org. The margin of error was +/- 3.1 percent.

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