Report and Video Highlight Health Coverage Struggles, Other Economic Concerns of Working Families
This report and video from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) illustrate the financial struggles of many families in the United States and show the central role of health care costs and coverage in a household’s economic stability.
The report, Snapshots from the Kitchen Table: Family Budgets and Health Care, is based on interviews with 27 families from six cities across the U.S.. It finds pervasive uncertainty over job security and households teetering on the financial brink, stretching to pay for basics such as food and housing and ill-equipped to cope with unexpected costs for things such as a medical emergency or a necessary home repair.
Health care costs were of particular concern, with many families forgoing doctor visits, skipping prescription medications and postponing needed care. Even those with health insurance reported delaying care in order to avoid co-payments, rising deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses for uncovered services. Despite barely being able to meet the cost of basic needs, many families did not qualify for public programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
A companion video produced by Foundation staff profiles several families who were interviewed for the report and depicts the narrow financial ledge on which millions of low- and middle- income working households stand even in normal economic times, especially when it comes to their health care needs.
The report and video were released on the same day that Diane Rowland, the Foundation’s executive vice president and executive director of the Foundation’s KCMU, testified at a Congressional hearing, titled “Addressing Underinsurance in National Health Reform,” held by a special task force of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.