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New Jersey Voter Anxious Over Healthcare

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

A new survey of likely voters commissioned by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease in New Jersey and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute found that two out of every three of the state's voters believe that chronic disease costs could lead to a new American economic crisis. The survey was conducted and analyzed by the Monmouth University Polling Institute. The telephone interviews were collected by Braun Research on October 15-18, 2008 with a statewide random sample of 900 registered voters.

Other key findings in the poll:

-- A large majority (58%) of New Jersey voters feel that chronic disease treatment is a major factor in the overall cost of our health system and a similar majority (57%) favor government action in this area.

-- After being informed that chronic disease accounts for three-quarters of all health care spending, including about $39 billion a year in New Jersey, 66% say that these costs could lead to a new economic crisis in the nation.

-- To reduce chronic disease treatment costs, 87% favor promoting healthier lifestyles in the education curriculum, 78% favor tax incentives for businesses that offer wellness an prevention programs, and 72% favor requiring that people receiving publicly-funded health care enroll wellness and prevention programs.

-- Four-in-ten voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who advocates for chronic disease prevention policies.

"It is clear that voters desire, indeed expect, public policy makers to invest in chronic disease prevention," said former New Jersey Governor James Florio, Chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease Effort in New Jersey. "The good news is that political candidates on both sides of the aisle have responded. In fact, both National Party Platforms include chronic disease prevention language."

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David Knowlton, President and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and Chairman of the Partnership with Governor Florio added, "We will never provide the universal access to affordable quality health care that we all want without addressing the issue of chronic disease costs. These poll numbers show that there would be strong support from the public for such an effort and that is encouraging."

In addition to Governor Florio and Mr. Knowlton, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is being led in New Jersey by six co-chairs: Rev. Reginald Jackson, Executive Director, Black Ministers' Council of NJ, Phil Kirschner, President, NJ Business and Industry Association, Tom Manning, President, New Jersey State Association of Pipe Trades, Martin Perez, Esq., President, Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, Joan Verplanck, President, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and Deb DiLorenzo, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey.

"I am proud to lead this new effort in our state," said former Governor Florio. "It simply makes sound public policy sense to invest in early prevention and treatment efforts that will save both public and private entities millions in health care costs while improving the quality of life for thousands of citizens."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths in the U.S. -- killing more than 1.7 million Americans every year. Chronic diseases are also the primary driver of health care costs, accounting for more than 75% of the $2 trillion dollars spent each year on health care in the United States.

"Any serious proposal to reform our health care system must address preventable chronic disease," said Knowlton. "Our state's premier business, labor, health care, faith, and community organizations are dedicated to making chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer the number one health care priority for policymakers and presidential candidates."

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national bipartisan coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: chronic disease whose mission is to:

-- Challenge policymakers -- in particular, the 2008 presidential candidates -- to make the issue of chronic disease a top priority and articulate how they will address the issue through their health care proposals

-- Educate the public about chronic disease and potential solutions for individuals, communities, and the nation

-- Mobilize Americans to call for change in how policymakers, governments, employers, health institutions, and other entities approach chronic disease