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Reform seen as more important than ever: study


By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: June 16, 2009 - 8:00 am ET
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A majority of Americans—61%—say they believe health reform is more important than ever, given the nation’s serious economic problems, according to a June health tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Also, six in 10 Americans say the nation’s healthcare system could be reformed without spending more money to do so. In a news release about the poll, Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman said that view might be unrealistic.

“With all of the talk of inefficiencies in the system and achieving future savings, the public may confuse the potential for long-term savings with the need for short-term outlays and think that healthcare can be reformed for free,” Altman said. “This could make policymakers’ jobs tougher when the price tag for legislation comes out.”

Meanwhile, 55% of Americans reported that they or another member of their household have put off some medical care—such as not filling a prescription or skipping a recommended test—in the past 12 months because of cost. A healthy majority, 70%, said they like the idea of insurance exchanges, an element of the legislation now being drafted on Capitol Hill, as a way to help people purchase insurance on their own. Also, a little more than half (54%) of Americans say they oppose taxing the employer-sponsored health benefits of those with the most generous plans, while about 67% say they are against across-the-board increases on income taxes.

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The survey was conducted June 1-8 among a nationally representative random sample of 1,205 adults who were 18 years of age or older.

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