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Health Care Woes Grows May 7, 2008

Posted by Reginald Johnson in Healthcare, News, Reform.
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Health care costs sits among the top of the personal economic problems in American lives. A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds many of them struggling to meet the high costs affecting both their financial well-being and their family’s health care.

The researchers from the Foundation conducted the this survey during the month of April (the April poll).

The uniqueness of the conference centers around the economic concerns facing American families and the various ways they have dealt with the cost of health care.

The Kaiser Family Foundation had this to say in a news release:

“Across a series of economic concerns, health care costs rank near the top. Nearly three in 10 Americans (28 percent) report that they or their families have had a serious problem paying for health care and health insurance as a result of recent changes in the economy, behind paying for gas (44 percent) and about tied with getting a good-paying job or raise in pay (29 percent). Smaller shares report serious problems paying their rent or mortgage (19 percent), dealing with credit card or other personal debt (18 percent), paying for food (18 percent) or losing money in the stock market (16 percent).

“Reports of families facing serious economic problems extend up into middle-income families, with almost three in 10 (28 percent) of those earning between $30,000 and $75,000, reporting a serious problem paying for health care or health insurance as a result of recent changes in the economy.

Health care costs are also having ripple effects on family budgets. In a separate series of questions asking about the personal economic consequences of medical bills, nearly four in 10 (37 percent) report at least one of six financial troubles over the past five years as a result of medical bills: having difficulties paying other bills (20 percent); being contacted by a collections agency (20 percent); using up all or most of their savings (17 percent); being unable to pay for basic necessities such as food, heat or housing (12 percent); borrowing money (10 percent); or declaring bankruptcy (3 percent).”

Kaiser President and CEO Drew E. Altman stated, “Many people view health and the economy as separate issues, but the cost of health care is a significant pocketbook issue for many families and paying for health care has become a key dimension of the public’s economic concerns.”

Another thing the poll also finds is health benefits play a key role in people’s decisions to switch jobs or stay in their current job. Imagine that! Health benefits are one of the main things that people look at when trying to get a job. Sadly, many people believe they are stuck in their present job and would love to change jobs, but the benefits at their present job keeps that from happening. At least 23 percent of the people surveyed feels this way.

An overwhelming number of people in the United States currently go without any healthcare. At one time, I was one of those people. I was afraid of getting sick because I didn’t have the money to go see a doctor – or at least I didn’t know of anything that would help offset the expense.

The Foundation also released the results of its April Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Election 2008, the seventh in a series tracking voters’ views about where health care fits as an issue in the 2008 presidential election, as well as their views on potential approaches to health reform. The latest survey finds voters are most likely to name the economy as one of the two most important issues for the candidates to discuss, followed by Iraq and health care. The three issues rank in the same order among Democrats, Republicans and independents. Early polls in the series have also looked at the ways health care costs contribute to voters’ concern about the economy.

The polls were designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation. A nationally representative random sample of 2,003 adults was interviewed by telephone between April 3 and 13, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points. For results based on subgroups, the sampling error is higher.

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The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit, private operating foundation dedicated to providing information and analysis on health care issues to policymakers, the media, the health care community and the general public. The Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries.

Comments»

1. Health Insurance Florida Individual Health Insurance Patient Safety - May 23, 2008

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