Poll: Healthcare should be top priority

Jan. 8, 2007 at 9:37 PM

NEW YORK, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Congress should focus on expanding healthcare coverage for the uninsured over the next five years, a new survey says.

Healthcare coverage was identified as "absolutely essential" or "very important" by 88 percent of respondents in the latest Commonwealth Fund Health Care Opinion Leaders survey, Commonwealth Fund said in a news release.

Other top priorities are moderating rising healthcare costs, 81 percent; reforming Medicare to ensure solvency, 80 percent, and increasing information technology use to improve patient care quality and safety, 80 percent.

Participants also said reducing the proportion of the uninsured under-65 population from 18 percent to 5 percent was both achievable and desirable within the next 10 years.

Commonwealth Fund surveyed a healthcare opinion leaders from four groups: academic and research organizations, healthcare delivery, business, insurance and other health industry, and government and advocacy groups.

"When this many of our nation's healthcare experts, who don't always agree about priorities, name the same few critical issues, we have an excellent starting point for action on the healthcare agenda for the next few years," said Karen Davis, president of the New York-based Commonwealth Fund.

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