Voters Believe They Hold Power in Health Care Reform Debate

WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The most effective way to get politicians to act on health care reform is for citizens to make their voices heard, according to voters surveyed in an opinion poll commissioned by the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA).

Asked which would be the most effective way to prompt action by politicians, 41 percent of likely voters said citizens demanding health care reform would best get the job done. Twenty-two percent said it would take diverse interest groups building consensus, 19 percent said it would take politicians proposing and implementing solutions and 9 percent said reform would result from business leaders lobbying for change.

Voters also overwhelmingly reported that they are paying attention to the presidential candidates' positions on health care and that those positions would affect their vote in the fall.

With concerns about jobs and the economy growing, voters still ranked health care as the second most important priority for the next Congress and President to address. In a related finding, a plurality of voters said that they believe health care reform would have a positive effect on the economy: 44 percent of survey respondents said that if the federal government were successful in making quality health care available to everyone, it would strengthen the economy (25 percent said it would weaken the economy and 24 percent said it would have little effect).

"Our research shows that the voting public wants to participate in a national discussion on health care and expects its views and concerns to be heard," said Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, the association's president and chief executive officer. "The vast majority of American voters -- 85 percent -- believe that health care is a matter of human dignity and should be available to all for moral and ethical reasons. During Cover The Uninsured Week, CHA and Catholic hospitals around the country are calling on our leaders to listen closely to the American public -- and to take action."

CHA recently released its Vision for U.S. Health Care, which outlines values and principles for a reformed system. The document is available online at www.OurHealthCareValues.org.

"Catholic health care providers have always been leaders in Cover The Uninsured Week -- and throughout the year," said Jeff Tieman, CHA's senior director, health reform initiatives. "These opinion survey results show that their message is helping to engage the American public on this critical issue."

The opinion survey included responses from 800 likely voters nationwide, reached by telephone March 31-April 2, 2008, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percent. The survey was conducted on behalf of the Catholic Health Association of the United States by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, VA.

The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), founded in 1915, supports the Catholic health ministry's pursuit of the strategic directions of mission, ethics, and advocacy. As the nation's largest group of not-for-profit sponsors, systems, and facilities, the ministry is committed to improving the health status of communities and creating quality and compassionate health care that works for everyone. For more information, visit the CHA website at www.chausa.org.

SOURCE Catholic Health Association of the United States

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