An issue beneath the surface of public concerns in the 2006 election is health care. The cost of health insurance has skyrocketed, with premiums rising by 87 percent since 2000. Health costs may eclipse profits in Fortune 500 companies by the year 2008. And, the number of people lacking any type of health coverage has grown. Nearly 47 million Americans are uninsured – more than the population of the entire West Coast. Yet, major health reform has been off the table since 1994 – the year that President Clinton failed to enact sweeping changes and Republicans took over the Congress. Early polling from key 2006 races, however, suggests that public interest is rising and that public policy may follow.
The panel will discuss the salience of health issues in the 2006 midterm election, and explore what this may mean for policy and politics in the future. Celinda Lake will present results from exit polling on this issue in key House and Senate races. This leading set of strategists, activists, and scholars will examine health care’s significance to voters and health policy in 2006 and beyond.
Celinda Lake, President, Lake Research Partners
John Rother, Director of Policy and Strategy, AARP
Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union, CLC; Chair of the Change to Win Federation
Joseph Antos, PhD, Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy, American Enterprise Institute
Jeanne Lambrew, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University Medical Center and Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress