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High Costs Force Third of Americans to Skip Needed Health Care
Date:3/25/2008

AFL-CIO report found 95 percent of those surveyed feel U.S. system needs overhaul

TUESDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- One-third of Americans -- even those with health insurance -- say high costs force them to skip needed medical care, a new survey shows.

And one-quarter of the respondents said they had serious problems paying for the care they needed, while 79 percent said health care will be a top issue in this year's presidential election, according to the survey, sponsored by the AFL-CIO.

"The survey results paint a devastating picture of a health-care system that costs too much, covers too little, leaves too many behind, and is getting worse," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said during a Tuesday teleconference.

Conventional wisdom holds that only the uninsured care about health-care reform, Sweeney said.

"Our survey results turn that conventional wisdom on its head. Of the more than 26,000 people who took the survey, most are insured and employed, most are college graduates, and most are union members. These are the people you would think are the lucky ones, but they're not," Sweeney said.

Sweeney said the survey respondents are the very people struggling to pay medical bills and skipping doctors' visits and prescription medications because of cost.

The solution to the health-care crisis is a national program under which everybody receives affordable health care, Sweeney said. The AFL-CIO has already determined that the plan offered by probable Republican presidential candidate John McCain is inadequate and merely a continuation of Bush administration policies, the labor leader said.

The AFL-CIO, a federation of 56 national and international labor unions representing 10.5 million members, is pinning its hopes on proposals put forth by Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, Sweeney said. Either Democrat's health-care proposals are a good ba
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