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Six in Ten Say Family Put Off Medical Care Due to Cost
Date:4/22/2009

PUBLIC CONTINUES TO SUPPORT ACTION ON HEALTH REFORM, INCLUDING PUBLIC PLAN AND SOME TAX CHANGES

But Argument Testing Shows Opinion is Malleable and Will Hinge on Actual Debate

MENLO PARK, Calif., April 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As economic conditions remain poor, a majority of the public continues to say that they or a member of their household have delayed or skipped health care in the past year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's April health tracking poll.

Perhaps because Americans continue to struggle with the cost of medical care in their own lives, the country's overall economic problems have not dampened their interest in pursuing health care reform: a solid majority of the public (59%) believes health care reform is more important than ever, compared with the thirty-seven percent who say we can't afford health reform because of economic problems.

"Our polls suggest strong general support for health reform, but the public can be swayed on the key details," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman. "There is still a tremendous opportunity for leadership but also for interest groups to define the direction of the health reform debate."

The most common actions taken due to costs were substituting home remedies or over-the-counter drugs for doctors visits (42%) and skipping dental care or check ups (36%). Additionally, three in ten (29%) did not fill a prescription for medicine and two in ten (18%) cut pills in half or skipped doses.

Not everyone can forgo care, and overall one in four (26%) Americans say someone in their household has had trouble paying medical bills in the past year.

Support for Some Methods to Pay for Health Reform, Others Less Popular

One of the crucial challenges for health reform is the financing of the plan.

Seven in ten (71%) Americans strongly or some
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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