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'It costs too much to be healthy'
Date:5/2/2011

ies whose income was less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level were more likely to delay or go without care than families with incomes at or above 400 percent of the poverty level.

"Every U.S. family has a finite amount of resources available to them, and every day they have to make decisions about how to allocate those resources. This is especially true in today's economy where you hear people talk about 'feeling the pinch,'" Wisk said. "This study shows the unfortunate reality of the situation. Families aren't choosing to spend their money on going to the doctor when someone is sick because of how much it cost them to see the doctor last time. They're sacrificing their health because it costs too much to be healthy."

Wisk said public policies that reduce financial burden and provide insurance for families as a unit rather than individuals, such as BadgerCare in Wisconsin, may allow families to get the care they need. "Moreover, families of children with activity limitations represent a particularly vulnerable group," she said, "and policies are needed to help provide accessible, affordable health care for these children."

Even when families are insured, they still bear part of the burden of health care costs (through premiums, deductibles, co-pays, etc.), she noted. When these costs exceed a certain threshold relative to a family's available income, they delay or forgo health care.

The researchers are planning to study how delaying or forgoing care affects health down the road. "We expect that if people aren't getting the care they need, they'll be sicker as a result," Wisk said. "When you put this all together and look at the big picture, the cost of health care in the U.S. could actually be causing Americans to be sicker."


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Contact: Susan Martin
ssmartin@aap.org
847-434-7877
American Academy of Pediatrics
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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