Study: Healthcare no. 2 issue of importance to public

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Healthcare is more important than the economy, according to Americans taking part in a new poll. Respondents said healthcare is now the second most important problem for the government to address. It moved up from no. 4 last year.

In a random national survey of 1,205 American adults during the first week in August, researchers found that 22% of respondents said healthcare was the most important issue for the government. That put it behind only war and foreign policy issues, which 28% cited as most important.

The economy came in third (cited by 20% of Americans) in the Kaiser Health Poll tracking survey.

Last year a similar poll by Kaiser researchers found that, as Americans were preparing for a presidential election, healthcare was only the fourth-most important issue -- behind the war in Iraq, terrorism and the economy.

This year's poll had fewer people name terrorism (9%) as the most important problem.

Findings for the current survey are available online at
http://www.kff.org/healthpollreport/CurrentEdition/index.cfm