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Most in new poll say nurses, health care aides are underpaid

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The majority of Republicans and Democrats agree that health care aides and nurses are underpaid, according to a new study by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released on Monday.

While nearly seven in 10 Americans trust doctors and nurses to make the best decisions for them and their families, 59 percent of those surveyed think that nurses are underpaid and 61 percent believe that health care aides also deserve to be paid more.

The poll also found that just 11 percent of Americans believe that doctors are underpaid, with half of the respondents saying that they are paid fairly for their work. 

Americans on both sides of the aisle mostly agreed on doctors’ pay, with 36 percent of Democrats saying that doctors are overpaid and 37 percent of Republicans believing the same.

“Most of the public clearly believes doctors are paid about the right amount or are overpaid, but many Americans don’t have an accurate sense of doctors’ salaries,” Joshua Gottlieb, an associate professor at Harris Public Policy, told the University of Chicago. “More research on health care workers’ pay could better inform public opinion around health care policies, spending, and the government’s role in shaping contemporary labor markets.”

The poll, surveying 1,071 Americans by the web and telephone, was conducted between June 10 and June 14. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

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