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Americans Want More Medical Research

More Than Half of Americans Want More Money Spent on Health Research

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on September 20, 2005
From the WebMD Archives

Sept. 20, 2005 -- Building America's reputation as a global leader in healthand medical research is a top priority for most Americans, according to newreport on American's views on health care and health research.

The report shows that many Americans have lost faith in the country's healthcare system, and more than half (55%) say they are currently dissatisfied withthe quality of health care in the U.S., up from 44% five years ago.

Researchers say the results show that Americans want more funds andresources devoted to health care and health research, and more importantly,they are willing to pay for it.

More Money for Health Care

In the study, published in The Journal of the American MedicalAssociation, researchers analyzed the results of 10 years of data fromstate and national surveys on public attitudes and perceptions of health careand health-related research. The 70 state and 18 national surveys wereconducted by Research!America among randomly selected adults interviewed bytelephone from 1998 to 2005.

A 2005 poll shows that health care topped education and jobs as the mostimportant domestic issue in America.

The poll also shows that about two-thirds of Americans say they are willingto pay $1 more a week in taxes for additional medical research, an increasefrom 2004 when less than half of Americans said they were willing to paymore.

Although Americans seem willing to pay more for health research, the studyalso shows most Americans think too many regulatory barriers are impeding theprogress of research and want Congress to support regulatory and tax policiesthat encourage private industries to conduct medical research.

When asked what type of research was more valuable, research to preventdisease or research to cure disease, nearly half (48%) said research to preventdisease was more valuable.

American Views on Health Care & Research

In keeping with the finding that 67% of Americans would like to see moreabout scientific and medical research in the media, here is a summary of theother major points of the study:

  • 68% of Americans say clinical research is important, but a decliningpercentage of Americans said they would be willing to participate in a clinicaltrial, from 63% in 2001 to 55% in 2004.
  • 60% of Americans do not believe America has the best health care system inthe world.
  • A majority (58%) of Americans favor embryonic stem cell research. Of the29% who oppose stem cell research, 57% said their position was based onreligious objections.
  • Most Americans (77%) oppose the use of cloning to create a child, but 66%support cloning to find a cure for disease and disabilities.
  • Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say the U.S. is spending too little on publichealth research and 64% say at least twice as much should be spent.
  • 58% say that as the country looks for ways to manage health care costs, thenational commitment to health-related research should be higher.

Show Sources

SOURCE: Woolley, M. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept. 21, 2005; vol 294: pp 1380-1384.

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