Poll finds Americans pessimistic about country’s health, favor more government health spending

A new poll by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that a majority of Americans—52 percent—prefer increased government spending on health services, while 37 percent support a smaller government providing fewer health services. In addition, the poll found that 6 in 10 Americans believe that government investment on measures to improve health and prevention will lead to long-term cost savings.

The poll also documented a pessimistic public mood about the country’s overall health. Forty-five percent of those polled thought the health of Americans had become worse during the past five years, and 40 percent thought it had stayed about the same. Only 13 percent thought it was better.

“Americans are convinced not only that the health care systems are not working, but health in the country is deteriorating,” Robert Blendon, told Kaiser Health News. Blendon, who conducted the poll and is a professor of health policy and political analysis at HSPH, attributed this response to the public’s concerns about the economy, noting that many health barometers show improvements in Americans’ health.

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Harvard Opinion Research Program