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Economic downturn takes toll on health of Americans with heart disease, diabetes or cancer
Date:11/18/2010

Boston, MA A new poll from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Knowledge Networks (KN) shows that many people with heart disease, diabetes or cancer believe the economic downturn is hurting their health and will have further negative impacts in the future. Many Americans with these illnesses face financial problems paying for medical bills in this economy. Most of these people do not believe the new national health care reform law (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010) will help them. This national poll is the first in a collaborative series of polls by HSPH and KN focused on people with heart disease, diabetes, or cancer; it was conducted October 27-31, 2010.

Many With Heart Disease, Diabetes or Cancer Say Economic Downturn Has Negative Impact on Their Health

More than a third of those with heart disease (35%) or diabetes (39%) say that the economic downturn has had a negative impact on their health, while more than a fifth of those with cancer (21%) say the same. An even greater share of people with each disease say the economic downturn will hurt their health in the future (47% of those with heart disease; 48% of those with diabetes; and 27% of those with cancer).

"Many people with heart disease, diabetes or cancer say the problems created by the economic downturn are spilling over into their physical health, not only today but also in the future," said Gillian K. SteelFisher, research scientist in the HSPH Department of Health Policy and Management and assistant director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program.

Economic Downturn Has Led Many with Heart Disease, Diabetes or Cancer into Financial Problems as They Try to Pay Medical Bills

Roughly a third of those with heart disease (35%) or diabetes (34%), and a fifth of those with cancer (22%) say the economic downturn has forced them to use up most or all of their savings in order to deal with medical bills
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-998-8819
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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