Health Care Costs a Scourge

March 24th, 2009 | Sources: Kaiser Network


Fifty-three percent of Americans reported cutting back on health care to save money in the past year, according to the most recent Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll

For 35% of them, this meant using home remedies and OTC drugs in lieu of a visit to the doctor.

healthbilleatseverythinginsiteThe same percentage reported deferring dental care. Meanwhile, 21% said they chose not to fill a prescription, and 15% cut pills or skipped doses of prescription drugs.

The poll also revealed that 19% of respondents “experienced serious financial problems recently due to family medical bills.”

A shocking 13% indicate they’ve drawn down all or most of their savings paying off medical bills in the past year. The same number say health care bills make it hard to pay other bills. Twelve percent report being contacted by collection agencies.

Nearly 40% of respondents are very worried about their capacity to pay for needed health care, and that number bumps to 57% in the subset who think someone in the household might lose their job in the next 12 months.

A third of respondents with health coverage worry they will lose it.

thegenieneedsabailout“It’s clear that what the public wants most from health reform is relief from health care costs,” concluded Drew Altman, Kaiser’s President and CEO.

“Today’s economic anxieties have created a better starting point for health reform than we saw last time around,” he continued.

“More people see themselves benefiting from reform and fewer see themselves being negatively affected than we saw in the Clinton health reform debate.“

The Kaiser telephone interview survey was conducted from February 3-12 using a nationally representative sample of 1,204 adults.


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