With the election just weeks away, a new poll shows that 79% of West Virginia residents would be more likely to vote for political candidates who worked to guarantee quality health care for all. The poll was commissioned by the West Virginians' Campaign for a Healthy Future, a statewide healthcare reform campaign organization of 37 business, labor, health care advocacy and provider groups that is growing into a significant voice on statewide health care reform.
88% of those polled support health care reform in West Virginia – 60% said they support it strongly. "No doubt there's an overwhelming feeling that something has to be done,” said Jeff Pollack, president of Global Strategies the New York-based firm that conducted the poll. “We don't usually get results with numbers like 88 percent and 60 percent."
With strong support from America's Agenda: Health Care for All, the West Virginians' Campaign for a Healthy Future has been working with state legislative leaders and the administration of Governor Joe Manchin to develop legislation that will significantly reduce growth in health costs for all payers and assure access to affordable, high quality health care to every West Virginian. Introduction of the health care reform bill is expected in early 2009.
"The message in this poll is clear,” said America's Agenda Executive Director Mark Blum. "West Virginia voters are deeply concerned about the rising cost of their health care. They want real reform that will guarantee affordable, quality care for every resident, and they're willing to put strong support behind elected state leaders who make it happen."
Other key findings of the poll: 52% of West Virginians want top priority to be reducing the cost (35%) or improving quality of health care (17%). 40% of voters are very worried they won't be able to pay medical bills for serious injury. 33% of low-income West Virginians haven't gone to the doctor in the past year because of the costs, and nearly 20% did not see a doctor because none was available in their area.
"West Virginians are not saying this should all be done by government or it should all be done by businesses,” said Pollack. “It's a shared responsibility and that is certainly the way the voters feel."