According to America Speaks, a compilation of public opinion polls commissioned by Research!America, the majority of Americans agree with the central tenets of the 21st Century Cures Bill.
"Majorities across the political spectrum say it is important that the new 114th Congress takes action on assuring the discovery, development and delivery of treatments and cures for diseases in the first 100 days of the legislative session (75% Democrats, 64% Republicans and 60% Independents)," states Research!America. "As Congress considers numerous proposals in support of research, including the 21st Century Cures draft legislation aimed at speeding the delivery of lifesaving treatments to patients, it is notable to see public support in favor of accelerating medical progress."
The report found that an increasing percentage of Americans say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should move more quickly in order to get new treatments to patients, even if it means there may be risks. In 2015, 38% favor faster regulatory review, compared to 30% in 2013 (see the graphic to the left). Meanwhile, 25% say the FDA should act more slowly in order to reduce risk, even if it means patients may wait longer for treatments. Another 19% are undecided on this question and 18% do not agree with either position.
When it comes to rising health care costs, 46% say research to improve health is part of the solution, while 28% are not sure and 26% say research is part of the problem. Meanwhile, 41% say that the roughly 1.5% of government spending allocated for biomedical and health research is not enough. Nearly one-third (29%) say it is about right, 21% are not sure and 9% say it is too much.
Furthermore, 44% say they are willing to pay $1 per week more in taxes if they were certain that all of the money would be spent on additional medical research, while 32% say no and 24% are not sure.
Currently, only 27% of Americans believe the U.S. has the best health care system in the world, but more than half say it is important that the U.S. is a leader in medical and health research. Furthermore, confidence in the current system in the U.S. for evaluating the safety of vaccines and recommendation for when they should be given dropped to nearly half, compared to 85% in 2008.
Among the polling results:
- 70% of Americans agree basic scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge, even if it brings no immediate benefits, is necessary and should be supported by the federal government.
- 80% of Americans say it’s important that elected officials at all levels listen to advice from scientists.
- 78% of Americans say it’s important that our nation supports research that focuses on improving how our health care system is functioning.
- A plurality (44%) say they’re willing to pay more in taxes if they were certain that all of the money would be spent on additional medical research, and
- More than half (53%) say it’s important to make the R&D tax credit permanent
- 56% of Americans favor expanding federal funding for research using embryonic stem cells.
- More than half (55%) of Americans are willing to share their personal health information to advance medical research. An even higher percentage (60%) say they will share personal health information so that health care providers can improve patient care, and 46% percent are willing to share information so public health officials can better track disease and disability and their causes.
- 73% of Americans say the federal government should assign a higher priority to improving education focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and careers in those fields.
- Studies show that certain health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and infant mortality happen more often among minorities or citizens with lower incomes. More than two-thirds of Americans (69%) say it is important to conduct medical or health research to understand and eliminate these differences.
View the full report: Download AmericaSpeaks Volume 15
Research!America notes that their online polls are conducted with a sample size of approximately 1,000 U.S. adults, age 18+, with a maximum theoretical sampling error of +/- 3.2%. Data are demographically representative of adult U.S. residents. Polling in this publication was conducted by Zogby Analytics.