A new poll released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health contradicts conventional political wisdom about American public opinion on the role of the federal government in health care.
The poll queried Americans’ views on a number of health-related issues. One question and the public’s response stands out. The poll asked respondents if they prefer a bigger government providing more health care services or a smaller government providing less health care services. 52 percent of Americans chose the former option and only 37 percent chose the latter. The researchers who conducted the poll juxtaposed this with a separate New York Times/CBS poll taken earlier this year showing that most Americans wanted to see a smaller government providing less services — seeming to indicate that the provision of health care services is a particularly popular government role:
Interestingly, only 7 percent of respondents said that the government’s role in health care is the “most important problem in the nation’s medical care system.” A whopping 51 percent of respondents named health care costs as the top problem instead.