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78% of Americans concerned about healthcare in new Gallup poll

Amid a tumultuous political climate, the availability and affordability of healthcare services is a more important issue to Americans than terrorism.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Healthcare tops a list of 15 contemporary issues that are of most concern among Americans, according to a new poll released by Gallup. As a concern, healthcare topped even crime and violence, as well as federal spending.

In all, 55 percent of Americans are "a great deal" concerned about healthcare, while 23 percent are "a fair amount" concerned. Just 23 percent said the issue was of little or no concern to them.

[Also: As healthcare spending and costs rise, Many Americans are going without necessary medical care]

By contrast, 51 percent said they are concerned about crime and violence; federal spending and the budget deficit also drew a great deal of concern from 51 percent of Americans, as did the availability of guns. 

Healthcare, crimes, guns and spending were the only issues eliciting the highest levels of concern among respondents; unemployment came in last at 23 percent, while high-profile issues, such as illegal immigration (34 percent), the economy (34 percent), and environmental quality (42 percent) lingered near the middle-to-bottom of the list. The possibility of future terrorist attacks was only a top concern for 40 percent of Americans.

It's the fifth year in a row that healthcare has either been first or tied for first in the annual poll. Democrats showed the most concern, at 72 percent to Republicans' 39 percent, and pollsters predict that with federal uncertainty regarding the fate of the Affordable Care Act, anxiety about the nation's healthcare situation is likely to continue.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com