About three in four New Jersey residents believe their healthcare costs are growing faster than their incomes – and are struggling because of it, according to a recent survey.
And, while not surprisingly, it could be: Most only want lawmakers to fix the current system – not eliminate it – and urge them to proceed with caution.
The results come from a survey conducted by Consumers for quality care, a coalition of advocates and former policymakers who say they are working to give patients a voice in the healthcare debate. The survey was conducted by ALG Research and Bully Pulpit Interactive.
âThe rising cost of health care is a major concern for three-quarters of New Jersey voters,â said Danny Franklin, partner of Bully Pulpit Interactive.
He said residents want sensible solutions.
âAs families in New Jersey rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 crisis, they are looking for solutions that lower the cost of care,â he said. âVoters want their elected officials to prioritize lowering health care costs. “
Here are other key findings from a poll of 601 registered voters from July 19 to 25:
- 71% of those surveyed said the cost of healthcare is increasing faster than their income. Among respondents who have financial difficulties, this number rises to 80%;
- 78% of respondents agreed that the amount they pay for health care seems to increase every year;
- 52% of those surveyed agreed that at some point in their life they had difficulty paying a medical bill, even with health insurance;
- 72% of respondents fear receiving a surprise medical bill of several thousand dollars, while 71% fear not being able to pay a high deductible for the care they need;
- 66% of those surveyed feared that they would have to delay seeking care due to high health care costs, with 60% worried that they would not be able to pay their monthly health care premiums.
Addressing the affordability of health care remained a priority for respondents. Voters are looking to Congress for a more focused approach to fixing the current system, rather than completely transforming it.
Overall, 61% of those polled thought Congress should focus more on strengthening the current system by making specific fixes, such as reducing out-of-pocket expenses, compared to 26% who said Congress should fundamentally transform the health care system and 13% who were uncertain. However, most also agreed that lawmakers should be cautious about making changes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 71% agreeing with this approach.
As for specific solutions, 73% of respondents were in favor of allowing non-physician health care practitioners to provide services currently administered by physicians. Additionally, 58% supported the idea of ââpreventing insurance companies from limiting coverage or increasing premiums or co-payments for COVID-19 survivors.
Donna Christensen, a founding member of the CQC board of directors and the first female physician elected to Congress, said the poll results were revealing.
“This research confirms what many New Jersey residents felt: the out-of-pocket costs for quality health care are too high,” she said. âWith around 18% of Americans with medical debt in collection, it’s no wonder consumers are stressed out about the cost of going to a hospital or seeing a doctor. The out-of-pocket expenses shouldn’t be that high. and unpredictable that they would discourage people from seeking care, and insurance should act as insurance and be there for patients when they need it.
In addition to concerns about healthcare costs, the survey found that issues such as out-of-pocket expenses, including surprise bills, high deductibles, and delayed care due to rising healthcare costs, are a priority for voters. The results show that voters want their elected officials to focus on reducing these costs, with respondents overwhelmingly saying they would like their leaders to work on reducing costs (54%) rather than improving quality (15%) and access (13%).