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Alysia Korlec: Americans Demand Healthcare Reform, Unsure How to Achieve It (Consumer Report Poll)

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A Consumer Report's poll (online issue March 2008) reveals that the concern among Americans about affordable health care crosses all income levels. Over 80 percent of those polled are concerned about rising health care costs, and over 50 percent fear going bankrupt from medical bills following a serious illness or accident.

From a personal standpoint, my husband's company, a blue chip in the Fortune 100, once known for offering one of the best health benefits packages available, has cut back so far that the only way to keep the premiums down is to accept the Health Savings Account (HSA) and required high deductible. The tradeoffs are the ability to take the HSA with him if he leaves the company and the tax-free benefit. The underlying plan, however, wouldn't cover a serious illness.

Consumers Union, publisher of the Consumer Report, advocates affordable health care on the premise that quality health care should not bankrupt a family. I also found it interesting that the physicians whose primary concern is caring for patients addicted to smoking or obesity related illnesses are the most poorly paid. I'm not sure what to make of this; it's like saying preventive care isn't profitable, therefore a low priority among doctors.

Affordable health care has been an issue for decades, but are we any closer to reform in the health care system?

Read a summary of the report: http://www.consumerreports.org

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