Health Care Is Americans’ Top Concern

Published May 1, 2006

A new Gallup Poll finds two-thirds of Americans say they personally worry “a great deal” about the availability and affordability of health care, making the issue the most worrisome among a dozen measured. It is the top issue for Democrats, independents, and Republicans.

In a series of town hall meetings across the country, people are getting a chance to have their say on the issue. Julie Appleby writes in USA Today that a series of 36 town hall meetings are being held through early May to give citizens a chance to express their views on the future of the U.S. health care system.

Organizer Jonathan Ortmans and the Public Forum Institute are producing the meetings, which were authorized by Congress when it created the 15-member Citizens’ Health Care Working Group. Later this year, the group will make recommendations to the president and Congress for reform of the nation’s health care system.

Ortmans uses high-tech keypads to let the audience vote on a range of policy options. On March 4, about 500 people showed up at the forum in Los Angeles; 51 percent of those attending, for example, said people with higher incomes should pay more for health care, while 20 percent said everyone should pay the same.

But the meetings are dominated by union members and social activists. We need free-market people to attend them as well. Why not attend and have your voice heard?

Grace-Marie Turner ([email protected]) is president of the Galen Institute, a nonprofit, free-market organization in Alexandria, Virginia, devoted to researching health policy. This report was excerpted from Turner’s essay “HSA Week,” available on the Galen Institute Web site at

For more information …

The March 14 USA Today article by Julie Appleby is available online at

More information about the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group is available on its Web site at