Major Changes Needed in Public Health


Americans largely think the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed major changes needed to public health systems. We asked participants to select from two statements: “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that major changes are needed in our public health systems, including more funding” or “The COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime event and existing systems are dealing with it adequately.” Seven in 10 said they believed that major changes are needed to our public health systems. 

Though pandemic preparedness is an important component of public health systems, Americans also need these systems to address long-standing public health challenges like the opioid crisis. When asked about opioid abuse as a public health issue, more than three quarters strongly or somewhat agreed that opioid abuse and addiction was a major problem in their community. More than 60% said the problem had gotten worse or stayed the same in the past year.

Along with ending the COVID-19 pandemic and bolstering the economy, health coverage expansion and reducing health care costs were frequently selected as top priorities the Biden administration should focus on. The cost of health care was also most frequently selected as the second most important health issue facing the nation (COVID-19 was overwhelmingly considered the most important health issue). 

Check out our Public Opinion Polls page to see the full results from our most recent survey.

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter