American Public Supports Investment in Prevention as Part of Health Care Reform

Solid Majorities Favor Prevention Proposals

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health have released a new poll showing that 71 percent of Americans favor an increased investment in disease prevention and that disease prevention is one of the most popular components of health reform.

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, indicates majority support for disease prevention investments from across the political spectrum (85 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of Republicans, and 68 percent of Independents) and across the country (72 percent in the Northeast, 73 percent in the South, 71 percent in the West, and 69 percent in the Midwest).

According to the survey, 70 percent of people think prevention will save money rather than cost money. Nearly two-thirds of Americans ranked investing in prevention between an 8 and 10 on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means not at all an important health care priority and 10 means very important.

“Prevention is clearly one of the most popular parts of health reform,” said Al Quinlan, president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. “Americans see a real payoff for investing in disease prevention in terms of lowering disease rates and reducing health care costs.”

“Investing in proven prevention programs and policy changes that make it easier for all Americans to make healthier choices is essential for building a healthier America,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Prevention happens where we live, learn, work, and play. Prevention happens when restaurants and workplaces are smoke free and when our neighborhoods have fresh, healthy foods and safe places to be active.”

“This poll shows that Americans strongly favor specific proposals that focus on keeping Americans healthier in the first place instead of only treating them after they’ve become sick,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH.

Importantly, the poll shows wide support for strengthening specific public health and disease prevention proposals in health reform. For instance:

  • 82 percent of Americans favor ensuring that public health workers are well trained and adequately equipped;
  • 73 percent of Americans favor a proposal to provide for education loan repayment to make sure we have enough public health professionals to combat shortages in health departments and meet health needs; and
  • 72 percent of Americans favor a proposal to establish a Public Health Investment Fund that would dedicate annual funding to prevention.

The poll reflects the responses from 1,008 registered voters and was conducted from November 2 to 5, 2009. The margin of error was +/- 3.1 percent.

Interview: Al Quinlan

Interview: Al Quinlan

Interview: Al Quinlan

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, indicates majority support for disease prevention investments from across the political spectrum.

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, indicates majority support for disease prevention investments from across the political spectrum.

Interview: Al Quinlan

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, indicates majority support for disease prevention investments from across the political spectrum.