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

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).

"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," Kaiser President and CEO Drew E. Altman said.

The poll also finds that health benefits play a key role in people's decisions to switch jobs or stay in their current job. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) say that, within the past year, they or a member of their household have either taken a new job or stuck with their current job (instead of taking a new one) primarily because of better health benefits.

Perhaps surprisingly, health coverage is also a factor in some people's decisions to get married. Among all adults, 7 percent say that, in the past year, they or someone in their household decided to get married in order to have access to their spouse's health care benefits, or so their spouse could have access to their benefits.

The high cost of health care also caused a significant number of Americans to delay or go without medical care. When asked about the impact of costs on their families' health care, more than four in 10 (42 percent) say that, within the past year, they or a family member living in their household have experienced at least one of five specific consequences due to cost: put off or postponed getting needed care (29 percent); skipped a recommended medical test or treatment (24 percent); not filled a prescription (23 percent); cut pills in half or skipped doses of medicine (19 percent); or had problems getting mental health care (8 percent).

People generally are more likely to report taking these actions now than in the past - for instance, 24 percent now report skippin
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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