Voters Support Raising Taxes To Fight Breast Cancer

Armen Hareyan's picture
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As America marks Martin Luther King Day and reflects on equality for all, a new survey shows that nearly sixty percent of voters are willing to raise taxes to ensure all women have access to quality breast cancer screening and treatment, including 71 percent of registered Democrats and 46 percent of registered Republicans.

The survey was commissioned by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance, the new policy offshoot of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer organization, and conducted by KRC Research.

More than 90 percent of voters want the federal government to pay more attention to breast cancer research, screening and early detection and access to quality care for all. A majority of voters, 62 percent, believe breast cancer is the most critical health problem facing women today. This is also true among low-income, minority and underserved populations surveyed.

Importantly, voters recognize that income level and ethnicity impact access to quality care, with 70 percent of those surveyed saying income level impacts quality of care and half thinking ethnicity affects quality of care. Susan G. Komen for Cure's April 2007 "Breast Cancer Mortality Report" validates voters' assertions: low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates for breast cancer screening and treatment prevents many women from accessing quality services, and lack of knowledge about prevention, screening and treatment options greatly increases death rates, particularly among African Americans and Hispanics.

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"As we honor Dr. King and his work, let's hope presidential candidates recognize what voters already do: it is unconscionable for skin color or income level to dictate the terms when a woman needs treatment for breast cancer," says Diane Balma, spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance and breast cancer survivor. "Despite a slumping economy, the willingness to have taxes raised demonstrates how seriously voters are thinking about the federal government's role in -- and candidates' positions on -- breast cancer and other healthcare issues."

Fifty percent of voters feel candidates are spending not enough time on healthcare issues, a top priority for both men and women surveyed. Alarmingly, only 12 percent of all voters are aware of their preferred presidential candidate's position on issues relating to breast cancer.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance is leading the I Vote for the Cure campaign to urge candidates to make breast cancer a priority by developing specific policies for increasing funding for breast cancer research and improving access to screening and treatment for all Americans. To date, tens of thousands have signed a petition asking all candidates to work towards ending breast cancer forever.

"I Vote for the Cure will play a vital role in helping voters get answers to critical healthcare questions and holding candidates accountable for their stance on the importance of breast cancer research and treatment," says Balma. "With nearly 2 million survivors nationwide and a strong network of informed advocates, we can impact an election."

In addition to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance's voter efforts, Susan G. Komen for the Cure recently launched a campaign specifically designed to educate, empower and mobilize the African American community to reclaim their lives and their health: Circle of Promise. Through this grassroots effort, Susan G. Komen for the Cure hopes to rewrite the story on African Americans and breast cancer by decreasing the African American mortality rate, which is 18 percent higher than Caucasian women.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance voter survey included 1,003 interviews of registered voters nationwide -- 48 percent male (N=481), 52 percent female (N=522) -- conducted by telephone from Dec. 18 - 31, 2007. The margins of error are +/- 3.1 percent for all respondents, +/- 4.5 percent for males and +/- 4.3 percent for females. The sample was drawn using a random-digit dial methodology, in which all households with land-line telephones, listed and unlisted, had an equal probability of being phoned. Respondents were limited to those reporting that they are registered to vote, and the data was weighted slightly to reflect the national distribution of registered voters, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

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