Kentuckians want next administration and legislature to work on reducing health costs and improving the state’s health

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Reducing the costs of health care and improving the state’s health are two of the top five priorities Kentuckians want their next governor and the legislature to work on in the next year, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll.

“These results give us a reliable snapshot of the most important issues Kentucky adults want to see the next governor and members of the legislature address,” Susan Zepeda, President/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said in a news release. “It is important for our policymakers to know what priority Kentuckians place on these issues facing the commonwealth.”

The poll asked, ” How important is it to you that the next governor and the Kentucky legislature work on each of the following issues in the next year? Is it extremely important, very important, somewhat important, or not that important?”

The top five priorities were the same as in a poll that asked the same question prior to the last election for governor, in 2011.

This year’s poll found that Democrats, Republicans and independents agreed that the economy, education and jobs should be the top three priorities, in that order, with health concerns ranking fourth and fifth.

However, Republicans put less emphasis on health. While 88 percent of Democrats said that reducing health-care costs was extremely or very important to them, 78 percent of Republicans said that. The partisan gap was wider on improving residents’ health, with 91 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Republicans saying that this was very or extremely important for the state.

“And so you do the math and you figure out whose attention we might need to get to really sustain health gains in the commonwealth,” Zepeda said at the Friedell Committee for Health‘s annual meeting Oct. 25.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 15 through Oct. 7 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati and is co-sponsored by Interact for Health, formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. It surveyed a random sample of 1,608 adults via landline and cell phone, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

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