WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 Eight out of 10 Americans fear that the current financial crisis will affect their ability to pay their medical bills, according to the results of a poll of more than 4,000 U.S. adults released today by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, a non-partisan research group. The poll also examined consumers' attitudes about health care, an issue weighing heavily on voters' minds as they head to the polls this election season.
Only six percent of Americans surveyed believe their family is completely prepared to handle future health care costs. Additionally, seven out of 10 believe the financial crisis will make it harder for those who are uninsured to receive medical treatment.
"Health care is a pocketbook issue for most Americans," according to Paul Keckley, Ph.D., executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. "As they make their final decisions on which candidate to vote for, our research suggests that the financial crisis has only compounded the significance of other issues, such as the affordability of health care. Consumers already struggling to pay their mortgages or put food on the table are now also asking themselves how their vote will affect their ability to afford health care for their families."
Two out of three Americans believe health care will be an important issue for the new president to address in his first term. More than half of respondents surveyed said that reducing costs (67 percent), increasing access (56 percent) and improving quality (57 percent) of health care are issues that are important to them in selecting a president.
"Regardless of which candidate gets elected, consumers agree that the health care system is in major need of change," said Keckley. "More than one in three respondents (37 percent) graded the system a D or an F and half (51 percent) believe that at least half of all money spent in the U.S. health care system is wasted."
Additional findings from the survey demonstrate how stretched many households are financially to afford health care:
Methodology: The preliminary findings reported here come from an online survey of a nationally representative sample of 4,010 U.S. adults conducted between October 2 and 10, 2008. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 percent.
Overview: The Role Health Care Reform Will Play in the Next Administration www.deloitte.com/us/HealthCareReform
Event: Reforming the U.S. Health Care System -- What Americans Say They Want (And Don't Want) www.deloitte.com/us/Insightseries/healthsystemreform
Profile: Dr. Paul Keckley www.deloitte.com/us/PaulKeckley
As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte LLP and Deloitte Services LP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.
About the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions is a part of Deloitte LLP. For more on the Center and its work, see www.deloitte.com/centerforhealthsolutions.
-- Of the survey respondents who reported delaying or skipping care in the past 12 months, 27 percent said they did so because they could not afford the cost.