Health Priorities Survey: The Medical System and the Uninsured: Survey shows Americans rank health care as second highest public priority.

Publication Date: June 2009

Publisher: Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Author(s): Kathleen.J. Weldon; John.M. Benson; Robert.J. Blendon; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Harvard School of Public Health

Research Area: Health

Type: Report


Americans rank health care as the second highest priority for governmental action, with the economy rated as the highest priority, according to a new survey by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The survey also shows that the majority of Americans are displeased with the medical care system, with 69 percent ranking the system as “fair” or “poor.”

Other survey findings highlighted the public’s view of core elements of reform, including reducing health care costs, covering the uninsured, an individual mandate and a national health insurance plan:

* Six in 10 Americans cite health care costs as one of the top two problems in medical care, while four in 10 Americans rank the lack of health insurance or access to care as the top problem;
* Among Americans who have health insurance, about three in ten (29%) are worried that they will lose their health insurance coverage in the next six months;
* The majority (55%) of Americans support a national health insurance plan financed by tax dollars. The level of support is nearly the same as it was in 1993 (59%);
* Nearly six in 10 Americans favor a law that requires everyone to have health insurance they buy themselves or get through an employer; and
* About two-thirds of Americans think that Americans not having health coverage is a bigger problem than it was five years ago.