Public Backs Investment in Prevention

A blizzard of health care polling is being produced as we get closer and closer to final resolution of the issue in Congress. Much of this polling tends to be duplicative and doesn’t really tell us anything new. But here are some findings that actually expand our understanding of the public’s views in this area.

The findings come from a new bipartisan poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner/Public Opinion Strategies for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health. The poll focuses on the neglected prevention aspect of health care reform, which means providing people with information and resources and creating policies that help people make healthier decisions. This poll finds 71 percent of Americans backing more investment in prevention versus just 23 percent who are opposed.

Reflecting this strong support, investing in prevention ranked just behind the massively popular prohibition against insurance companies denying coverage for pre-existing conditions in a list of health care reforms given to respondents. Prevention was given an average priority rating of 7.7 on a 10-point scale, compared to 7.9 for the coverage denial prohibition.

Prevention may not get much press, but it is very popular with the public. Maybe it’s time for the press to start paying attention.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Culture page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.