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Poll Finds Americans Blame Insurers, Drug Companies for Rising Health Costs
Date:3/24/2010

ncreased use of expensive tests and treatments. Most people, as shown here, do not think of these as the main drivers of increased health-care spending."

About 44 percent of adults polled said they are "extremely" or "very worried" by the prospect of having to pay more for their health care or health insurance, according to the poll of 2,389 U.S. adults. The was was conducted online between March 11 and 15.

"That [44 percent] is a huge number of people and underscores the biggest concern about the health-care system, which is, 'How do we pay for it?' " Taylor said.

Those ages 40 to 64 are particularly concerned. About 54 percent of people aged 40 to 49 and 55 percent of those aged 50 to 64 said they are "extremely" or "very worried" about higher health care and health insurance costs.

That stands to reason, Reinhardt said. Middle-aged workers have suffered a large number of layoffs during the recession and can find it more difficult to get rehired. As people age, they are also more likely to have costly chronic conditions that can make it difficult to buy health insurance policies on the individual market.

Even among those eligible for Medicare, fears persist. Forty-nine percent of those ages 65 and up said they worry about paying for health care, which could reflect higher premiums and co-pays for Medicare Part B and concerns about long-term care in a nursing facility, which is not covered by Medicare, Taylor said.

Perhaps surprisingly, Taylor noted, lower income people are no more worried about health-care costs than people with higher incomes. The highest percentage of those who said they are "very" or "extremely" worried (52 percent) are middle-income Americans with a household income of $50,000 to $74,900, the poll found.

The top reasons cited by those polled for rising health-care costs include:

  • drug and health insurance company profits (58 percent);
  • hospital
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