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Americans Rank Health Care Near the Top of Their Economic Woes, New Poll Finds
Date:4/28/2008

Almost Four In 10 Report Serious Financial Burden Caused By Medical Bills; 7 Percent Say Someone In Their Household Got Married So They or Their Spouse Could Get Health Benefits

MENLO PARK, Calif., April 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health care costs rank among Americans' top personal economic problems, and their struggles to deal with those costs have affected both their financial well-being and their family's health care, a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds.

Conducted by the Foundation's public opinion researchers, the April poll probes into the economic concerns facing Americans and the ways they have dealt with the cost of health care.

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
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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