Health care continued to take 4th place beneath Americans’ concerns about the economy, the Iraq War, and gas prices, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll published for August 2008.

1 in 2 voters place the economy in first place; 1 in 4 ‘voted’ for Iraq.
Health care is the #3 issue among Democrats; for Republicans, terrorism ranks even higher than health care concerns as the single most important issue in their vote for the President.
The top challenge in health care across parties is making it more affordable, believed by about 50% of voters in both parties as well as Independents. 1 in 5 voters overall say expanding access for the uninsured is the most important health reform issue, although Democrats feel much more strongly about this issue than either Republicans or Independents.
In this round of polling, the Kaiser Family Foundation asked voters about whether they had problems paying for health care and health insurance. The highest proportions of voters who reported having problems paying for health were the uninsured (50%), those with annual income under $30K (42%), households with someone managing a chronic disease, disability or handicap (42%), and voters self-reporting “fair” or “poor” health status.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Previous KFF tracking polls have found expanding access to the uninsured a more prominent concern; now, it’s all about costs. In April 2008, just a few months ago, 45% of Democrats said that expanding access to the uninsured was the most important health care issue; in this August poll, the percentage of Democratic voters believing that expanding access to health care was the #1 health issue dropped to 26%. It’s all about affordability now, for Democrats and Republicans alike (only 7% of Republicans see expanding access as the top issue under the health umbrella).
So we should read the KFF tracking poll very clearly: it’s costs, prices, affordability. Whatever synonym you choose, it is still the economy that colors the voters’ moods, and that color would be fiscally blue.

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