Survey: Funding Stem Cell Research Lowest Health Care Priority

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 11, 2005

Washington, DC ( — When it comes to health care issues, Americans are least concerned about making sure federal funds go towards stem cell research. That’s according to a post-election survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health.

When asked if various health care issues should "be a top priority for the President and Congress this year," just 21 percent cited "Increasing federal funding for stem cell research."

The results made stem cell research funding the 12th most important health care issue of twelve named by Kaiser in the poll.

Americans were vastly more interested issues such as lower the cost of health care and health insurance, making Medicare financially sound, and responding to bioterrorism issues.

Some 23 percent of Americans said federal funds should not be used for stem cell research and 19 percent said federal funding was "Not too important." Thirty-two percent of those who responded said federal funding was important but not a top priority.

The question did not break down public opinion on funding embryonic stem cell research versus adult stem cell research. Previous surveys have found the public opposes funding embryonic stem cell research when they learn it involves the destruction of human life.

The issue of whether or not to use federal funds for embryonic stem cell research and human cloning for research will be a hot topic this year.

In August 2001, President Bush prohibited using taxpayer funds for any new embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of human life.

Instead, the President authorized the National Institutes of Health to spend more than $190 million on the use of adult stem cells. Such research, considered more ethical, has already produced dozens of treatments for various cures and ailments.

Congress will consider competing bills on the biotech issues.

One bill, backed by pro-life groups, prohibits all forms of human cloning while another bans human cloning for reproduction but allows it for research purposes. Another bill would expand the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research.

The survey was conducted by International Communications Research between November 4 and November 28, 2004, among a nationally representative sample of 1,396 respondents ages 18 and over.

Related web sites:
Kaiser Family Foundation poll –