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Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Election 2008 — April 2008

An April 2008 poll finds that health care costs rank among Americans’ top personal economic problems, and their struggles to deal with those costs have affected both their financial well-being and their family’s health care.  Conducted by the Foundation’s public opinion researchers, the poll probes into the economic concerns facing Americans and the ways they have dealt with the cost of health care.

Across a series of economic concerns, health care costs rank near the top.  Nearly three in 10 Americans (28 percent) report that they or their families have had a serious problem paying for health care and health insurance as a result of recent changes in the economy, behind paying for gas (44 percent) and about tied with getting a good-paying job or raise in pay (29 percent).  Smaller shares report serious problems paying their rent or mortgage (19 percent), dealing with credit card or other personal debt (18 percent), paying for food (18 percent) or losing money in the stock market (16 percent).

Health care costs are also having ripple effects on family budgets. In a separate series of questions asking about the personal economic consequences of medical bills, nearly four in 10 (37 percent) report at least one of six financial troubles over the past five years as a result of medical bills: having difficulties paying other bills (20 percent); being contacted by a collections agency (20 percent); using up all or most of their savings (17 percent); being unable to pay for basic necessities such as food, heat or housing (12 percent); borrowing money (10 percent); or declaring bankruptcy (3 percent).

Kaiser also released the results of its April Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Election 2008, the seventh in a series tracking voters’ views about where health care fits as an issue in the 2008 presidential election, as well as their views on potential approaches to health reform. 

The polls were designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation. A nationally representative random sample of 2,003 adults was interviewed by telephone between April 3 and 13, 2008.  The margin of sampling error for the survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points .  For results based on subgroups, the sampling error is higher.

icon_news_release.gif News Release

icon_reports_studies.gif Survey Brief: Economic Problems Facing Families

icon_reports_studies.gif Key Findings: Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Election 2008

icon_reports_studies.gif Toplines