A large majority of Americans say improving the healthcare of veterans should be Washington's most important legislative priority, a new poll has found — a sign that the scandal involving secret waiting lists and untimely deaths at veterans' healthcare facilities across the country has resonated deeply with the public.
In a Gallup Poll
conducted June 9-10 of 1,012 adults, 87 percent said it is extremely important or very important for the White House and Congress to prioritize veterans' healthcare in the next year.
Respondents also ranked other issues that are currently being considered before Congress. Equal pay legislation is considered the second-most important issue, but scores 15 points below the issue of veterans' healthcare, at 72 percent.
Additionally, 65 percent of those polled said new legislation for high-quality preschool education is extremely or very important, while 59 percent identified investigations into the Benghazi controversy a top issue.
"Republicans and Democrats agree more about the importance of some issues than others, but they are completely unified in assigning high importance to improving veterans' healthcare," Gallup said in a statement. "Nine in 10 Americans from each party consider the veterans issue highly important for the president and Congress to address, including more than 4 in 10 calling it extremely important."
A number of other policy items were considered on the list, including immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, enforcing carbon emissions limits, revising the new healthcare law, and investigating the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap.
"Just weeks after new information about mismanagement and corruption at a number of Veterans Health Administration hospitals around the country came to light, the Senate and House of Representatives are poised to send legislation to start remedying the situation to President Barack Obama for his signature," Gallup said.
"The strong show of bipartisanship in this quick action is mirrored in Americans' nearly universal agreement that federal lawmakers need to focus on improving how the country provides healthcare to veterans."
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