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The Public's Health Care Agenda

Bush has made it clear he's got his agenda for America's health care problems: capping medical malpractice awards. A newly-released poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health makes it clear that this goal is only a minor part of the public's health care agenda. In this poll, respondents were given a series of 12 health care reforms that they could rate as a top priority and reducing jury awards in malpractice suits came in 11th out of these 12 items. Just 26 percent said it should be a top priority, compared to these figures for the top three health care reforms: 63 percent said lowering the cost of health care and insurance should be a top priority, 58 percent said making Medicare more financially sound for the future should be and 57 percent said increasing the number of Americans with insurance should be.

The poll also finds that Bush's signature accomplishment in the health care field, the Medicare reform bill that established a prescription drug benefit within that program, remains unpopular with the very group, seniors, who were the intended beneficiaries of the new benefit. Just 29 percent have a favorable impression of the new law and 70 percent believe lawmakers in Washington should work to fix the problems in the new law, rather than leave it as it is. The three key problem to be fixed are that the bill is too complicated for people on Medicare to understand (81 percent say this problem needs fixing), that it does not do enough to lower prescription drug prices (78 percent) and that it does not provide people on Medicare enough help with their prescription drug costs (also 78 percent).

Comments

And yet, that demographic (seniors) voted for Bush by solid margins didn't they? Does that speak to a split personality among them, or the Democrats lack of reaching these voters?

Also, the number of comments has gone WAY down and why is that?

With all these polls out within one week of the coronation - can SOMEONE please explain how this group got back into the White House?

mimiru: Re your question I'd guess for a lot of folks here last year was so intense and this loss so hard to take that many have probably felt a need to decompress a bit, disengage for awhile or reflect, and feel ready to focus on the future again. I don't think there is anything surprising about this happening, with no electoral "moment of truth" coming along for awhile. I find Ruy's comments pertinent to the long-term, ongoing project of restoring Dems as the governing party at any time of the election cycle, so I for one plan to stick around (hope you will, too), after having taken some time "away" myself.