Polls: Importance Of Health Care As Presidential Election Issue

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Two recent polls asked voters about their opinions on health care and other issues in the presidential elections, as well as which candidate they considered most able to address various concerns. Summaries appear below.

* Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll: Fifty-four percent of registered voters trust Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) more than Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) to address health care, compared with 25% who trust McCain more to address the issue, according to a recent Times/Bloomberg poll, the Times reports (Hook, Los Angeles Times, 9/25). The poll, conducted between Sept. 19 and Sept. 22, included interviews with 1,428 adults -- 1,287 of whom were registered voters and 838 of whom were likely voters. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points (Przybyla, Bloomberg News, 9/24).

* Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll: The Wall Street Journal reports that a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds the economy is the "top issue for large numbers of voters," with health care, education and the environment "a distant second" (Meckler, Wall Street Journal, 9/25). The poll, conducted between Sept. 19 and 22, included interviews with 1,157 voters, 1,085 of whom were registered voters. Full results are available online (Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 9/24).

Columbus Dispatch Examines Health Care Proposals

The Columbus Dispatch on Monday examined the McCain health care proposal as part of a series on health care and the presidential election. The McCain "prescription for health care reform relies on an old-fashioned Republican remedy: competition in the marketplace," according to the Dispatch. However, "McCain's plan is vague about cost savings according to the Dispatch (Johnson/Candisky, Columbus Dispatch, 9/22).

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Meanwhile, the Dispatch on Tuesday examined the Obama health care proposal, which is "modeled" in part on the Massachusetts health insurance law. According to health care experts, the Obama proposal would "get more coverage for uninsured people" but would "take a huge increase in federal spending to do so" (Candisky/Johnson, Columbus Dispatch, 9/23).

Editorial

Obama would end the "travesty" of the 46 million U.S. residents who lack health insurance, but McCain "has a bizarre plan to deregulate health insurance and charge workers income tax on coverage they receive through employers, in an attempt to force them to seek private policies," a Charleston Gazette editorial states.

The editorial cites a recent article by McCain in which he discussed regulation of the health insurance market. The editorial criticizes the deregulation of the health insurance market that McCain has proposed, adding, "Deregulation of banking has dragged America into a financial nightmare."

The editorial states, "America needs a national single-payer insurance system that would cut medical costs drastically," adding, "By trying to help commercial insurers reap fat profits, the McCain plan would be a stride in the wrong direction" (Charleston Gazette, 9/24).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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