Health Care Is a Top Concern Among Working Families

National survey shows deep dissatisfaction with cost and quality of health care, desire for change

THURSDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Most Americans -- including those with health insurance -- are deeply concerned about the cost and quality of health care and believe that the system requires fundamental reform, according to the 2008 Health Care for America Survey conducted by the AFL-CIO and Working America, which was released March 25.

Between Jan. 14 and March 3, 2008, the online survey was completed by 26,419 people. A majority of respondents reported that they are college graduates (51 percent), employed (70 percent), have health insurance (77 percent) and are union members (57 percent). Twenty percent of respondents reported that they are retired. The results were tabulated and analyzed by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and the final report includes 7,489 personal stories.

Among the key overall findings: about one-third of respondents have skipped medical care because of cost, about one-quarter have had difficulty paying for needed care, and 95 percent believe that the health care system needs fundamental reform. Among people with insurance, dissatisfaction is high with both health care costs and health care quality (95 percent and 62 percent, respectively), as are concerns about being able to continue affording coverage (96 percent).

"Soaring health care costs are a major factor in the economic upheaval facing today's working families," the authors write. "Costs are rising much faster than our wages or inflation, pushing working families into housing problems and bankruptcy, undercutting bargaining and making it impossible for our employers to compete with overseas companies and domestic competitors with low standards."

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