New Healthcare Poll, Same Healthcare Focus?

By Christine Cupaiuolo — October 18, 2006

Don’t you love how health care is always listed as a top priority for voters — yet once the polls close, healthcare gets buried. Politicians’ forceful promises to improve the system are reduced to cluck-clucking over a system that’s deemed too out-of-control to change.

Well, a new poll by ABC News/USA TODAY/Kaiser Family Foundation released Monday shows healthcare is still a major concern, ranking just behind the economy and Iraq as the single most important issue influencing voters’ choice for Congress this year.

One in four Americans (25 percent) told pollsters that medical bills had been a problem over the past 12 months for them or a family member in their household. “That’s the highest share of Americans reporting a problem paying medical bills in a series of Kaiser surveys taken since 1997. Among those reporting a problem this year, nearly seven in 10 (69%) have health insurance,” reports the Kaiser Family Foundation.

View the full poll results at Kaiser Family Foundation or USA Today.

Both ABC News and USA Today have major healthcare-related packages under the title “Prescription for Change.” Companion pieces to each outlet’s news coverage include videos, blogs and message boards.

In a blog post at ABC News, Matthew Holt, who runs the independent Healthcare Blog, weighs in on the difficulties of fixing the healthcare system.

No one said it would be easy. But it would be nice if politicians focused on applying more than a Band-Aid after election day.

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