HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Health Care Costs Top List of Americans' Concerns

The Kaiser Family Foundation's latest bimonthly report on public opinion concerning health care issues was released today. Health care costs and access to care top the list, far outpacing the public's concerns over quality:

When asked about the most important health problem for the government to address, health care costs were mentioned by almost half of respondents (46%). Other responses include access to care and insurance (25%) and senior citizens' issues (16%).

In addition to open-ended questions, we also ask the public to choose the most important issue for President and Congress to address among several specific health care issues. About three in ten say increasing the number of insured Americans (29%) is most important, followed closely by lowering the cost of health care and insurance (25%). Smaller shares say lowering the cost of prescription drugs (14%), reducing medical errors (13%) and lowering the cost of medical malpractice insurance for physicians (8%) are top priorities.

Overall, Americans rank health care third among their worries, behind only war and the economy:

When asked in an open-ended question to name the most important problem for the government to address, war and the economy top the list with three in ten (31%) naming each of these as the top priority. Health care ranks third at 26%. Fewer people name terrorism (15%), tax and budget issues (9%), education (6%), social security (5%) and crime (4%) as the most important problems to be addressed.


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