8. In your opinion, what is the top issue facing the country today?
Education (12.8%) and healthcare (12%) are tied among respondents as the top issues facing the nation today. Following closely are crime (10%) and the breakdown of the family (9.1%).
By more than two to one, Republicans are more likely to cite moral issues and the breakdown of the family than either Democrats or Independents, while Democrats and Independents are more likely to mention healthcare and related issues as the top issue facing the country. Independents are the most likely to indicate education as the top issue. Regionally, the East and West are more likely to say education and schools is the top issue, while those in the South and Central/Great Lakes regions are more likely to say moral issues.
Those living in the Midwest place healthcare first by a nose over education, crime, the economy, and moral issues. Healthcare places second in the East and third in the West. By a narrow margin, healthcare ranks as the number one issue in the suburbs, among Catholics, whites, and women.
Keep in mind, however, that the margin of difference between the top three or four issues makes them virtually tied in importance in the minds of the voters.
9. What do you believe is the most important issue regarding health care?
The high cost of treatment is of greatest concern overall, with more than one in six (17.9%) saying it is the most important issue regarding health care. Prescription drug costs (12.3%) is the next most important issues, followed closely by insurance costs (9.6%) and HMOs and insurance companies in general (8.5%).
The high cost of treatment is of most concern in the East (24.7%) and of least concern in the West (12.6%). In the West, HMOs and insurance companies and prescription drug costs tie with the high cost of treatment as the issues of most concern.
In general, the high cost of treatment ranks first among all sub-groups as the most important issue, but is of more concern among 30-64 year olds than those older or younger and of more concern among suburban and rural respondents than those living in small or large cities.
Whites and African Americans are slightly more concerned than Hispanics, and men are more concerned than women about cost
10. Congress is considering a patient’s bill of rights that would give people the right to sue their HMO. How aware are you that this provision would also allow businesses to be sued if employees had problems with their HMOs?
Very aware 19.2 Somewhat aware 24.2 Not aware 55.0 Not sure 1.7
The majority (55%) of respondents are not aware of the provision in the patient’s bill of rights which would allow people to sue their place of employment, along with their HMO, if they have problems with the HMO. About one in five (19.2%) are very aware and one in four (24.2%) are somewhat aware.
Those most likely to be aware (very and somewhat combined) of the provision are those in the West (44.6%), Republicans (46.8%), respondents 65 and older (51.9%), residents of large cities (51.7%), African Americans (56.6%), married respondents (46.8%), and men (46.5%).
11. If you know that these lawsuits could potentially cause a business to go bankrupt and close down, how likely would you be to support a right to sue?
Much more likely 7.4
More likely 7.9 More likely 15.3
Less likely 28.8
Much less likely 25.5 Less likely 54.3
No difference 22.6 No difference 22.6
Not sure 7.8
By more than three to one (54.3% to 15.3%), respondents are less likely to sue it they know that it could cause a business to go bankrupt and close over those who say they would be more likely to sue. Slightly less than one in four (22.6%) say it would make no difference in their choice to sue or not.
Respondents from the South (23.2%) and Central/Great Lakes (15.7%) would be more likely to sue than those living in the East (9.3%) or West (11.2%). Democrats (26.9%) are the most likely to say it would make no difference in their decision. Likelihood of suing knowing that businesses could be hurt increases with age from 11% of those 18-29 to 22.3% of those 65 and older. Those living in a small city (27.2%) are most likely to say it makes no difference, while those in a large city (19.9%) are more likely to sue and those living in rural areas say it would make them less likely (61.3%) to sue.
12. If care is denied, which would you prefer – a right to sue the HMO/business or a quick independent review of your claim that is binding on the HMO?
Right to sue 19.9 Quick review 71.2 Not sure 9.0
The overwhelming majority (71.2%) would prefer a quick independent review of their claim that is binding on their HMO, while 19.9% would prefer the right to sue when care is denied. Just under one in ten (9%) are not sure. This holds true across the board with those in the East (78%), 30-49 year olds (75.6%), Republicans (72.2%) and Independents (72.9%), those living in the suburbs (78.3%), and Hispanics (77%) and whites (72%) most likely to prefer an independent review.