A new report offers hope that Democrats and Republicans may find common ground on at least one issue: the role of “evidence” in shaping health laws. Strong bipartisan support exists for a greater use of “evidence” – defined as information based on reliable data and produced by statistical methods – in development of health policy in the United States. The study, published in Translational Behavioral Medicine , was conducted by Dr. Jonathan Purtle, a researcher at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health.
In a 2018 public opinion survey, 532 Americans were asked to what extent six factors “should have” and “currently have” influence on health policy decisions made by members of the U.S. Congress, including industry interests, evidence, and budget costs. The data was weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population.
“Evidence” as well as “citizens’ desires,” were the factors most often identified by both Democrats and Republicans as those that should have the most influence. While members of both parties agreed on the most important factors for shaping policy, they were comparably cynical about whether their voices are being acted upon. Although 59 percent of respondents said that evidence should have “a lot of influence” on policy, only 11 percent said that evidence currently has “a lot of influence” on those decisions.
Additionally, more than half of respondents said that desires of citizens should have “a lot of influence,” but only 14 percent reported that citizens actually have “a lot of influence” on policy.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on July 26