As hospitals prepare to deal with a public newly armed with more hospital quality data, the AFL-CIO plans to use new public opinion survey results to leverage its concerns on healthcare access and costs with the presidential candidates.
The unscientific online survey, which was released last week and included responses from more than 26,000 adults, paints a devastating picture that the healthcare system costs too much and covers too little, said John Sweeney, president of the 10 million-member union organization, at a teleconference to release the findings. Sweeney said the results of the survey will be sent to all candidates running for national office this year. We want to make sure candidates who win in November go into office with a clear mandate for healthcare reform, he said.
Respondents in all age groups consider healthcare a very important voting issue for the 2008 electionsfrom 74% of 18- to 29-year-olds to 80% of 50- to 64-year-olds.
The traditionally Democratic AFL-CIO earlier this year launched a campaign to achieve universal health insurance by 2009, although it hasnt endorsed any specific reform plan or presidential candidate. A number of its member organizations have individually shown support for Democratic presidential contenders, including Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Heather Booth, director of the AFL-CIOs healthcare campaign, criticized GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, claiming his healthcare platform is the same hands-off approach taken by President Bush, she said during the teleconference.
The survey results underscored the point that insured, employed Americans arent immune to the healthcare crisis. Of the 26,419 people who responded to the survey, 70% were employed and nearly 80% were from insured families. These are the people you would expect to have positive experiences with Americas healthcare system. The lucky onesexcept theyre not, Sweeney said. Theyre ... struggling to pay medical bills.