Blog | Tuesday, May 29, 2012

QD: News Every Day--The 99% worry about health care costs, quality

Nearly nine in 10 people think the cost of care is a serious problem and two-thirds believe the cost of care has gotten worse in the past five years, according to a poll by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR and Harvard School of Public Health.

Many sick Americans (who comprised 27% of adults surveyed) reported having problems due to the cost of their own medical care, according to a press release. More than 40% say that the cost of their medical care over the last 12 months has caused a "very serious" (20%) or "somewhat serious" (23%) problem for their or their family's finances.

17% reported that high health care costs prevented them from getting needed medical care in the past year. In this group, half could not afford it, a quarter said insurance wouldn't cover it, and one-tenth reported being turned away by a doctor or hospital for financial or insurance reasons.

The poll also found that three-fifths of the general public believe the quality of health care is a serious problem for the country. About four in five people said not being able to afford to get the tests or drugs they need is a major reason for quality problems, while more than six in 10 said the influence of health insurance plans on treatment decisions is a major reason for quality problems.

The poll was done by telephone among a representative national sample of 1,508 adults age 18 and over from March 5 to 25, 2012. The margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The margin of error for the "sick" population is plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.