2 in 3 Americans believe that, “we must make it a priority to give every single American quality affordable health care,” according to a poll from Rasmussen Reports.

There are dramatic differences on the issue of universal health coverage between Democrats and Republicans, however. 90% of Democrats agree that health for all is a national priority, compared with 37% of Republicans and 55% of Independents.

Democrats put health care at #1; Republicans and Independents cite reducing the deficit as a first priority.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Watch for the 63% number to increase in the next few months if unemployment numbers continue to reach the hundreds of thousands per month. The chart at right illustrates job losses each month since February 2008. The US has lost at least 600,000 jobs in each of the past 4 months, for a total of about 2.5 million jobs.

Unemployment quickly morphs to uninsurance as those who lose jobs that could access health benefits under COBRA do not opt in as the cost of the program eats up a major portion (sometimes 100% or more) of the monthly unemployment benefit. Even with the stimulus package’s provisions to subsidize COBRA at 65%, there will continue to be those consumers who do not perceive an ability to afford the health benefit.

This will be an integral issue in the discussions for a public program’s inclusion in health reform in the U.S. Some argue that a public program will have lower administrative costs and be an important competitive foil vis-à-vis private insurers. The opposing view is that once a public program peeks its nose into the competitive arena, it will drive all private programs out of the market. There is some historical truth to this latter argument.

In this day and age, will Americans trust a private program? Will they trust a public program? As we listen to the wrath in Congressional talks this week on AIG bonuses and bailout, the program to revive the banking industry, ad nauseum, it is hard to pick where American citizens will identify trust — except in each other, as seen in the continued bonding of citizens involved in countless, varied and resilient social networks.