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Public Ready for Changes to Health-Care System But Unclear About Necessary Trade-Offs, Citizen Forums Suggest
Date:6/22/2009

NEW YORK, June 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Many Americans see the nation's health-care system as at or near the breaking point and no longer able to be sustained, according to new research released today by Public Agenda and the Kettering Foundation.

The report, Public Thinking about Coping with the Cost of Health Care, is based on research involving conversations with more than 1,000 citizens in deliberative forums held in 40 states and the District of Columbia. National Issues Forum, a nonpartisan nationwide network of public forums for the consideration of public policy issues, facilitated the forums to understand how citizens around the nation cope with the rising cost of healthcare.

The study shows that U.S. citizens are so concerned about the cost of health care that many worry about it daily. Their concerns, wide and varied, include:

  • being wiped out financially by a catastrophic illness,
  • losing employer-provided coverage due to a job loss,
  • keeping up with escalating co-pays and deductibles, and
  • paying for even minor medical expenses -- a problem for the nearly 50 million uninsured.

People believe that the rising costs of medical care, pharmaceuticals, and insurance pose the greatest threat to the system, the report finds. At the same time, the analysis shows that Americans have not fully explored the reasons why medical costs are rising.

Overwhelmingly those who participated in the forums clearly favored some kind of national health-care program that would ensure appropriate medical care for all citizens. But participants were uncertain how to proceed and unclear about what such a system would look like, suggesting that the public has not reached a considered public judgment about what direction reform should take.

While health-care reform is clear
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SOURCE Public Agenda
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