Americans' Health Agenda

Despite recent polling finding that a majority of Americans prefer a smaller overall government, a new poll by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health found that a majority of Americans—52 percent—prefer a bigger government providing more health services, while just 37 percent support a smaller government providing fewer health services. In addition, the poll found that six in 10 Americans believe that if the United States spends more now on measures to improve health and prevention, the country will save money in the long run.

“This poll shows once again that Americans view spending on health and health care as an investment—both for personal and fiscal purposes,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Whether it is helping to combat obesity by investing in safe places for kids to play, enhancing our nation's public health infrastructure, or increasing awareness of life-saving screenings, early investments pay off and ultimately lead to lower costs.” - RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA

However, support for more health services and prevention strategies does not translate to approval of the nation’s health care or public health systems—a minority of the public gave high grades (A or B) to either the nation’s medical care system or the federal system for protecting the public from health threats and preventing illness.