Slightly more than half of California voters said they struggle to pay for health care -- a rate mostly unchanged from five years ago -- according to a Field Poll, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The California HealthCare Foundation funded the poll. CHCF publishes California Healthline (Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/25).
The poll surveyed 997 registered voters between June 21 and July 2.
The poll found that 53% of respondents said they have difficulty paying their health care bills, compared with 54% of respondents surveyed in a similar Field Poll in 2007 (Craft, Sacramento Bee, 7/25).
According to the new poll, 44% of respondents said they do not have difficulty paying their health care bills (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/25).
In addition, the new poll found that 17% of respondents ages 65 and older said that their health care costs are "very difficult" to pay, compared with 31% of older respondents in the 2007 poll.
It also found that 46% of respondents said they have delayed seeking treatment in the past year because of cost concerns (Sacramento Bee, 7/25);
The new poll also found that:
- 23% of respondents earning at least $40,000 annually said it is "very difficult" for them to pay for care;
- 11% of respondents earning more than $100,000 annually said it is "very difficult" for them to pay for care;
- 57% of uninsured respondents said it is "very difficult" for them to pay for care; and
- About 40% of Latino respondents said it is "very difficult" for them to pay for care, compared with 23% of white respondents and 26% of all other ethnic groups.
Reaction to Findings
Chris Perrone, a deputy director at CHCF, said that the lack of overall change in responses since the 2007 poll is striking. He said, "To some extent, that's a surprise, given the continuing growth of health care premiums and costs overall."
However, Perrone said, state residents still are "delaying the care they need" because of health care costs, "which is not only having an impact on their health, but could be having an impact on the people around them" (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/25).
Pollster Mark DiCamillo said, "I would have expected [that] the proportion of people who say health care costs are a problem would have gone up."
However, he said, "when you look under the hood, you're seeing different populations responding differently than in 2007" (Sacramento Bee, 7/25).