The Public's Health Care Agenda for the 113th Congress

In this comprehensive survey, researchers queried the public about their priorities for, and views on, a wide range of health and health policy issues that are currently preoccuping federal lawmakers.

Key Findings:

  • 55 percent of respondents, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, say that establishing state insurance exchanges should be a “top priority” for their governor and legislature.
  • 52 percent support the expansion of Medicaid in their state. 
  • 58 percent oppose any spending cuts to Medicare and 46 percent oppose any cuts to Medicaid.

Participants were also asked about other top of mind health concerns facing the nation, and the diseases or health conditions they felt pose the greatest threat to the American public. The majority of respondents indicated their top concerns are cancer (56%) and heart disease (35%), as was the case when the same question was asked in a 2007 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health poll. That same six-year period saw a substantial increase in the proportion of the public that saw diabetes (30% in 2013, compared to 14% in 2007) and obesity (26% in 2013, compared to 6% in 2007) as posing one of the two greatest threats.

These poll results provide more evidence that our nation is on the right track with expanding availability of affordable health coverage, and focusing more on preventing illness before it results in costly treatment." David Colby, Vice President, Research and Evaluation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The survey was jointly conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, and partially funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The survey was conducted in January 2013, among a nationally representative random sample of 1,347 adults ages 18 and older.

 

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55%

of respondents say establishing state insurance exchanges should be top priority for state leaders