Two-Thirds of Adult Americans Willing to Pay Higher Taxes to Fund Chronic Disease Prevention Programs, Survey Finds

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Americans, across all income groups, favor spending on chronic disease prevention over treatment and would be willing to pay higher taxes to support prevention programs. Two-thirds of Americans also worry that they won't be able to afford necessary healthcare if struck by a chronic disease.

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Americans and Public Health: Attitudes Toward Public Funding for Public Health and Chronic Disease

More than two-thirds of adult Americans agree that the U.S. healthcare system needs to put more emphasis on chronic disease preventive care than on treatment, and they're willing to pay higher taxes to fund those programs, according to a new survey by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD).

The survey also found that Americans believe Congress needs to do more to pay for prevention programs. More than two-thirds (68 percent) don't think Congress is doing enough to fund these programs, and 43 percent say they are more likely to vote for candidates who support increased public health spending, the survey found. More than four in five Americans (84 percent) favor public funding for programs to help prevent chronic disease.

"This survey shows that Americans believe prevention is the cornerstone to good health, but more funding is needed to achieve a healthy America," said John Robitscher, NACDD executive director. "More than 50 percent of Americans are not satisfied with the quality of their healthcare, and believe more funding should be allocated to preventive care."

"Americans realize we need a healthy workforce for a strong economy, but this can only be accomplished by investing in the prevention and control of chronic disease," said David Hoffman, NACDD policy committee chair. "Now it is time for our leaders in Congress to act on what we know from science and what Americans agree is the right course to assure our future."

Chronic diseases are ongoing, generally incurable illnesses or conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, cancer, and diabetes. These diseases are often preventable, and frequently manageable through early detection, improved diet, exercise, and treatment therapy.

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., affecting 133 million Americans, or 45 percent of the population. They are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths, killing more than 1.6 million Americans every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Chronic disease also account for the vast majority of health spending. In the U.S., 75 cents of every dollar spent on healthcare goes toward the treatment of chronic disease, according to the CDC.

Other NACDD survey findings:

  •     67 percent of Americans are worried about being able to afford necessary healthcare.
  •     92 percent of Americans say lack of health insurance is a problem in the US
  •     95 percent of Americans say the greater incidence of health problems among Americans with lower incomes is a big problem.
  •     83 percent of Americans believe that healthy workers have a strong impact on economic productivity.

The survey, "Americans and Public Health: Attitudes Toward Public Funding for Public Health and Chronic Disease," was conducted by TSC, a division of Yankelovich, Inc. for NACDD. The survey was conducted by telephone within the U.S. between Aug. 21 and 24, 2008, among 1,000 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity and region were weighted to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. adult population. The margin of error for this study was +/-3.1 percent.

About NACDD:
The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors is a national public health association, founded in 1988, to link the chronic disease program directors of each state and U.S. territory to provide a national forum for chronic disease prevention and control efforts. NACDD provides state-based leadership and expertise for chronic disease prevention and control at the state and national level. Further information about NACDD is available at http://www.chronicdisease.org.

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WENDY ALPINE
NACDD
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