Although the Affordable Care Act of 2010 has dominated the news recently, with coverage exploding Thursday as the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the law, few Americans so far in 2012 mention healthcare when asked to identify the most important problem facing the country. Six percent say healthcare is the top problem in June, behind mentions of the economy, jobs, the deficit, and problems in government.
The current 6% who mention healthcare is slightly below the average of 8% of Americans who since January 2001 have mentioned healthcare as the nation's top problem. Over the first six months of this year, an average 7% mentioned healthcare as the top problem.
Although healthcare may not have been top-of-mind so far this year, it has remained a latent concern for Americans.
Gallup in May gave Americans a list of 10 economic issues and asked them to rate the importance of each. Americans put healthcare at the top of the list. Forty percent rated "the cost of healthcare" as extremely important, with another 44% saying it was very important, putting it just ahead of unemployment and the federal budget deficit.