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Amid pandemic, majority of US prefers private sector lead the way in health care: poll

Amid pandemic, majority of US prefers private sector lead the way in health care: poll

A majority of Americans still trust the private sector to take the lead on innovation in the health care field over government efforts, according to a poll released Monday.

The poll conducted by The Associated Press alongside the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 70 percent of Americans said they trusted the private sector to do a better job "driving innovation," compared to 28 percent who said the same for the public sector.

That gap has narrowed by just 4 percentage points since a poll taken earlier this year ahead of the worst of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., when the U.S. response to the pandemic was still in its infancy.

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The results were much closer for which sector Americans trust to provide coverage; 53 percent said the private sector and 44 said the public sector. That gap narrowed by just 3 points since the last poll from AP-NORC in February.

Katherine Baicker, dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, told the AP that while many Americans saw inequalities laid bare by the current system, the ongoing pandemic had likely dampened attitudes in favor of immediate reform.

“I wonder if the short-term crisis dampens people’s appetite for health system reform,” Baicker said, according to the AP. “The idea of upending the health system at this moment ... it may be that people think, ‘No — let’s get a vaccine.’ ”

Democrats and left-leaning politicians such as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Progressives' majority delusions politically costly Sinema pushes back on criticism of her vote against minimum wage MORE (I-Vt.) have called for the U.S. to move to a single-payer "Medicare for All" system in response to the large population of uninsured Americans in recent years, and have continued those calls in recent months as concerns have arisen over how uninsured Americans could be tested or treated for COVID-19.

The AP-NORC poll surveyed 1,001 U.S. adults between May 11-14. The margin of error is 4.4 percentage points.