Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Election 2008 — August 2008

The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Election 2008 poll finds that one in four (24%) Americans continues to struggle with paying for health care. Health care ranks as a “serious problem” above paying for food (18%), problems with debt (16%), and paying the rent or mortgage (15%) and below paying for gas (37%) or getting a good paying job or raise in pay (26%).

Among the 24 percent that find paying for health care or health insurance a serious problem, those in the poorest health and those with the most need disproportionately report difficulties.

• Half (50%) of the uninsured say paying for health care is a serious problem.

• About four in ten of those with annual household incomes under $30,000 (42%), those living with someone who requires care (42%), those who report their physical health as “fair” or “poor” (40%), and the unemployed (37%) also report struggling with the cost of health care.

• Members of two minority groups, Hispanics (39%) and African Americans (35%), indicate disproportionate problems paying for care.

• Three in ten of those with two or more hospital overnight stays (31%) and two or more emergency room visits (30%) in the past year also report problems paying for care. The August poll, the ninth in a new series designed and analyzed by the Foundation’s public opinion research team, also examines public perception of the major presidential candidates’ positions on health care and reform.

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.