Health Care Costs Curb Holiday Spending

Happy Holidays, if you can figure out how to pay for it.

An opinion survey ... finds that two out of five Americans plan to spend less this holiday season because of rising health care costs, and three out of ten say health care costs have led to arguments and tension within the family....

Additional findings:

· Nearly a quarter of Americans admit that they would consider withholding information from an insurance provider if it might limit their ability to access health care. Those who consider their views “very liberal” are more likely than others to withhold information or bend the truth about their family’s’ and their personal medical history.

· Nearly a quarter of Americans are taking fewer sick days at work (a finding that bolsters concerns that workers are not taking time off when they get the flu, for fear of losing their job).

· The recession has pressured Americans to change their behavior regarding health care, primarily by visiting the doctor less. A third of Americans are concerned about losing their health care insurance and one in ten Americans has been forced to drop their health care insurance.

· More than 90% of Americans are satisfied with their insurance coverage. However, 33% do not take advantage of preventive health testing/screenings even when it is available through their current coverage—an interesting finding, given the fierce debate over mammograms, and the amendment just passed in the Senate requiring insurers to pay for annual mammograms for all women over 40. Perhaps this issue isn’t all that critical to the electorate?

· The majority of Americans feel either annoyed or frustrated by the current health care debate. Older Americans nearing retirement are following the debate most closely and tend to feel more anger, tension and helplessness.

I think the majority of Kossacks feel annoyed and frustrated by the current health care debate, too. Watching the debate in the Senate, with all the misinformation about Medicare, with all the irrelevant focus on abortion, with very few in this debate focusing on the fact that the American people are hurting and that the cost of healthcare is a huge part of that hurt is alienating. It's a reflection of how out of touch too many of our elected official are with real life.

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