The annual Axios-Ipsos American Health Index is out. It looks at how we think about health and how it impacts us. Health — in the survey — includes drug use and guns and how we feel politically about those issues and others.
Pollster Cliff Young said Republicans think fentanyl and opioid addiction are the number-one health crisis facing the U.S. today. Democrats don’t see it that way but it does turn out to be the number-one ranked issue in the poll.
Concern about obesity and guns rank toward the top, too.
“Like everything else, public health is a tale of two Americas — one red, one blue,” Young said. “Governments must be nimble to talk about multiple public health issues at once.”
The results of the survey say his statement is very, very true. Which party, income and education levels cast a great chasm over how we feel about our health and what’s right or wrong with how health issues are addressed.
When it comes right down to it, the poll finds opioids are the biggest health concern of them all. That number is 26%. Obesity was the second largest threat at 21%. Guns and firearms ranked third.
Overwhelmingly, and as a whole, Americans want private health insurers to cover weight-loss drugs and want out-of-pocket costs for insulin to not top $35 a month. In an — as you know — deeply controversial issue, close to half of us — 47% — think insurers ought to cover transgender-related medical care.
That’s when the political divide shows up. Just 16% of Republicans feel that way and — no surprise — 77% of Democrats support the idea.
Obesity concerns are explained by education levels. Only 12% of those with no college say this is the biggest health threat we face. A bit over double of those with a bachelor degree or higher disagree and 30% think it is the biggest health threat facing the U.S.
Guns are part of the conversation. Of those living in urban settings, 22% think gun violence is their biggest concern. Suburban residents hit 17% and just 8% of those living in rural American think guns are the nation’s biggest health threat.
What Americans say is the current, greatest threat to U.S. public health
Guns or firearms access
Unsafe roads or driving
Smoking or tobacco products