Evolving public attitudes on health policy

Muhlenberg College researchers released the results of a new poll conducted through phone interviews with 403 adults in Pennsylvania from Feb. 27 to March 7. The results show evolving attitudes on health-related issues.

On politics and ACA:
16% hold a “very unfavorable” view of the ACA, or Obamacare (half of what was previously reported)
56% of Pennsylvanians polled said that ACA made no difference in their lives.
75% disapprove of Congress’ handling of health care (as opposed to the President’s handling).

On obesity:
45% view obesity as a public health issue (increased from 38% in an earlier poll).
48% support taxing junk food
70% favor packaged food warning labels.
80% favor fast-food calorie count labels.

On other issues:
56% of Pennsylvanians polled said the federal government should fund Planned Parenthood, versus 31 percent who said it shouldn’t.
2/3 of Pennsylvanians polled now reject the mistaken link between autism and vaccinations.
The nine key findings as reported:

  1. Pennsylvanians are split nearly equally in terms of their satisfaction with the quality of health care in the nation with 49% of Pennsylvanians reporting they are satisfied with heath care and 51% dissatisfied with this aspect of life in the United States.
  2. Residents of the state are evenly divided on President Obama’s handling of health care in the nation but overwhelmingly disapprove of Congress’s handling of this policy area.
  3. By over a 3 to 1 margin (49% to 15%) Commonwealth residents report positive over negative views about Planned Parenthood.
  4. A majority of Pennsylvanians indicate that the federal government should continue to provide funds to Planned Parenthood.
  5. Keystone State residents are equally divided in terms of support for a tax on tax on junk food such as soda, chips, and candy, with 48% supporting such a tax and 49% opposing this option.
  6. Pennsylvanian views on the complete legalization of marijuana in the state remain fairly stable over the past three years with 39% in favor of legalization and 38% opposed to such a measure.
  7. Three out of four Commonwealth residents believe that heroin abuse in the United States is a very serious problem.
  8. Over half of Pennsylvanians personally know someone who has been addicted to heroin or another opiate.
  9. A majority of Keystone State residents now strongly disagree with the claim that the chances of a child getting autism are increased if they receive the recommended childhood immunizations.

The poll results are posted at https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2772917/PUBHealth2016-Final-Freq.pdf