Confusion and Gloom on Paying for Care

Americans have even less confidence that they can pay for their health care these days than they did in December, according to a Thomson Reuters poll released today.

The survey of 3,000 Americans found that their certainty that they could gain access and afford the care they need had dropped by 5 percent.

The Thomson Reuters Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index, based on a monthly survey of 3,000 consumers, asks if they have had trouble paying for or had to postpone care in the three months prior. And it asks if they expect to in the coming three months.

On every survey question, responses were more pessimistic in July than they were in December.

"That's a cause for concern to healthcare providers and policymakers," Gary Pickens, chief research officer at Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, said in a statement.

Pickens has seen a gradual eroding of confidence since December, despite a few notable peaks, such as in April, the month after Congress passed the Affordable Care Act.

"I doubt the average person really knows what has been implemented," he said. "They just know there is a lot of talk and there has been a lot of negative publicity."

The Incidental Economist blog suggests that the problem is not health care reform, it's simply the bad economy.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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