A new poll (.pdf) released on Wednesday by the Better World Campaign (BWC) "found that 61 percent of voters see the WHO favorably and 92 percent say the United States should continue contributing money to the agency," The Hill's "Healthwatch" blog reports. "The BWC touted its figures and argued U.S. funding for global health efforts should remain a priority as Washington enters a standoff over the debt ceiling and automatic budget cuts known as sequestration," the blog writes, noting, "The U.S. contributed about 22 percent of the WHO's assessed budget for 2010 and 2011 and about 16 percent of its voluntary budget, according to the Government Accountability Office." The campaign wrote in a press release, "Presently, all global health funding faces potential cutbacks, with major budget cuts on the horizon due to sequestration and other fiscal pressures," the blog states, adding, "The BWC warned that a bid for Palestinian membership at the World Health Assembly in May could trigger a shutdown of U.S. funding for the WHO" (Viebeck, 1/16).
BWC Executive Director Peter Yeo said in the press release, "Continued U.S. engagement in the WHO is essential to preventing the global spread of disease -- including diseases that could otherwise threaten our communities -- to say nothing of finally eradicating deadly diseases like polio and measles." According to the press release, he continued, "At a time when our nation is divided on many issues, the fact that nine in 10 voters support U.S. engagement in the WHO should be a mandate to Congress. When it comes to global health, Americans believe the United States can and should play a leading role through the WHO" (1/16). Another BWC press release notes, "The nationwide poll of likely voters, conducted January 6-9 by the bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates, surveyed 900 registered voters (630 landline/270 cell) with a margin of error of ± 3.27 percent" (1/16).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.