American voters are overwhelmingly paying attention to presidential candidates’ positions on health care, according to a poll published by the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA).
CHA released the survey as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation‘s Cover The Uninsured Week, in which CHA has participated since the effort’s inception.

After the big issue of national security — terrorism, Iraq — voters point to jobs and the economy (40%) and health insurance (21%) as the top two domestic issues of highest priority for the next president. This prioritization is consistent with that reported out of the Kaiser Family Foundation poll I wrote about earlier this week.

79% of voters say the candidate’s position on health care will affect his/her decision to vote for that candidate.

And nearly 9 in 10 believe that health care is a matter of human dignity and should be available to all based on moral and ethical reasons.

Health care for all is a mission for CHA. The organization is supporting Catholic health care facilities in organizing roundtable discussions in local communities to build consensus for health reform.

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.

The survey was conducted among 800 likely voters between March 31 and April 2, 2008.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: People want a national dialogue about health care. It’s clear during this Cover the Uninsured Week and the latest economic news that the number of uninsured people will increase in 2008. People are job- and health-insecure. And as the CHA poll demonstrates, health insurance coverage is a matter of human dignity to most people. Politicians who don’t get real about Americans’ visceral and emotional feelings about health care won’t fare well this election year. Dignity is not based in a market.

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