Americans say Health Costs threaten their futures

by Lesley Politi on April 1, 2009

Americans say health costs threaten their futures

12:34 p.m. March 17, 2009

— Virtually all Americans fear that health costs are a threat to their personal financial security and 80 percent say the U.S. system works poorly, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The survey also found 53 percent want employers to be required to provide health insurance and 37 percent support a mandate requiring all Americans to get health insurance.

“They think it is wasteful, inefficient, complex and expensive,” Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, said in a statement.

President Barack Obama has made overhauling the U.S. healthcare system a priority for his administration, and Congress agrees. The United States ranks last among 19 industrialized nations on health outcomes, quality and efficiency, according to a report by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, while spending more.

A Harvard study found medical bills cause half of all personal bankruptcies in the United States.

Deloitte surveyed more than 4,000 people for its study and found 94 percent fear that health costs could threaten their own financial futures – even if they have health insurance.

It found 43 percent oppose raising taxes to help cover the 46 million Americans who do not have health insurance.

Fifty-five percent want to be able to communicate with their doctors via e-mail to exchange health information and get answers to questions, while 68 percent were interested in home monitoring devices to check their own conditions and send the results to their doctor.

But consumers also admitted to contributing to their own problems. Only 40 percent said they always took medicine as directed and 25 percent said they had skipped care when they were sick or injured.

“More than half believe that 50 percent or more of the dollars spent on health care in the United States are wasted,” Keckley said in a statement.

Just more than half of the people surveyed, 53 percent, said they were happy with their own insurance and 70 percent of Medicare patients were. Only 45 percent of people with private insurance said they were.

The survey has a margin of error of 1.6 percent.


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