Recent survey findings may indicate that most Americans favor a smaller overall government, but results of a poll released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health show that a majority—52%--truly prefer a “bigger government” that provides more health care services.
By contrast, just 37% of individuals queried claimed they would rather see a smaller government that offers fewer services.
Moreover, a vast majority of respondents deemed improvements to Medicare and Medicaid top priorities for the federal government. Nearly two-thirds believe the former should top the federal government’s roster of top priorities, and 56% said Medicaid should head the list.
The poll also reveals a certain degree of support among Americans of the key component of President Obama’s health care overhaul. Forty-five percent of respondents to the poll stated that providing subsidies to assist uninsured individuals in purchasing coverage merits consideration as one of the federal government’s top priorities.
Nineteen percent of those queried deemed this important, but stated that they do not perceive it as a top priority.
However, support for more health services and prevention strategies does not appear to equate with approval of the nation’s health care or public health systems. Asked to assign school-type letter grades to the U.S. medical care system as well as the federal system for protecting the public from health threats and preventing illnesses, only a small minority of respondents gave either or both system an “A” or a “B”.