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May 13, 2008

California polls show health care a growing concern

A new poll shows concerns over rising health care costs have kept pace with other major economic worries - second only to skyrocketing gas prices and tied with getting a job or raise that pays enough to cover increased living expenses.

The survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, being released today, found that 44 percent of the more than 2,000 adults interviewed April 3 to 13 ranked paying for gas as a serious problem, compared with 29 percent for jobs and 28 percent for health care.

Difficulties paying for rent or mortgage followed at 19 percent, with food and credit card or personal debt close behind at 18 percent.

Health experts said the Kaiser poll, along with other studies released this week, show that health care in California remains in the forefront of Americans' concerns despite the mortgage crisis and growing overall economic woes. A Field Poll released Monday showed nearly 75 percent of Californian voters would have approved a health reform package brokered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders that failed in the Legislature earlier this year.

"It is surprising to see that problems paying for health care are right up there with the top pocketbook issues that average Americans are facing and are much higher than some of the other problems you'd expect to see at the top of the list," said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health philanthropy in Menlo Park.

The poll showed that health care also plays a significant role in lifestyle decisions. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed said they or a member of their household either switched or stuck with a job because of health benefits. Seven percent said that health care was a factor in their or a household member's decision to marry within the past year.

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Posted by healthinsurance at May 13, 2008 11:54 AM