Americans skimping on health care due to costs, support for health care reform strong – poll finds


More than half of Americans (53 percent) say their households have has cut back on health care spending due to high costs, according to a new survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

picture-3To save money, 35 percent they reported they had relied on home remedies and over-the-counter drugs rather than going to see a doctor; 34 percent skipped dental care or checkups; and 27 percent put off or postponed needed health care.

One in five (23 percent) said they did not get a recommended medical test or treatment  because of cost concerns and a similar number (21 percent) did not fill a prescription for medicine. 

One in six (15 percent)  said they skipped doses or cut pills in half to make prescriptions last longer.

The survey also found that roughly half (45 percent) said they were very worried about having to pay more for health care and insurance.

Support of health care reform

Six in ten (62 percent) of those surveyed agreed it was “more important than ever to take on health care reform now”, though there was partisan divide on this issue with 79 percent of Democrats saying health reform was more important than ever while most Republicans (58 percent) say they thought the nation could not afford to take on health reform at this time.

pie chart on support for health care reformIndependents favored faster action on health reform 57 to 37 percent.

National priorities

Asked what issues should be the president and Congress’s top priorities, 71 percent of those surveyed said improving the country’s economic situation;  49 percent said making Medicare and Social Security financially sound; 42 percent said fighting terrorism; and 39 percent said reforming health care.

Most of those surveyed (59 percent) said they thought health reform would be good for the country, but only 38 percent thought it would improve their family’s situation.

Most of those survey (58 percent) thought health reform could be accomplished without increasing spending, and 56 percent thought it could be done without changing the changing the health care arrangements they currently had.

Trust on health care reform

The survey also found a sizable majority of those surveyed (72 percent) trusted President Obama to “do or recommend the right thing for health care reform”, and 57 percent said they trusted Democratic leaders in Congress to do the right thing.

picture-6Of those surveyed, 72 percent said they did not trust health trade groups, such as insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and only 38% said they trusted Republican leaders in Congress to do or recommend the right thing.

Trust in labor unions on health reform was also low with only 40 percent of those surveyed saying they thought the unions would do or recommend the right thing for health care reform.

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