Although the Affordable Care Act of 2010 has dominated the news recently, with coverage exploding Thursday as the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the law, few Americans so far in 2012 mention healthcare when asked to identify the most important problem facing the country. Six percent say healthcare is the top problem in June, behind mentions of the economy, jobs, the deficit, and problems in government. The current 6% who mention healthcare is slightly below the average of 8% of Americans who since January 2001 have mentioned healthcare as the nation’s top problem.
They point out that this number increases dramatically when there is public debate about legislation on the issue, mostly in the first two years of Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s presidencies. Of course, when the perception that health care is a “problem” spikes, the question doesn’t differentiate between those who think it’s a problem that requires the legislation being debated and those who think the legislation itself is the problem.