U.S. makes tough health-care choices

The cost of health care

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: The folks behind Consumer Reports Magazine have a new poll this morning that says Americans have a hard time paying for health care. Marketplace's Tamara Keith is with us live from our Washington bureau. Good morning Tamara.

Tamara Keith: Good morning Steve.

Chiotakis: So this survey says 51 percent of Americans have had to make tough health choices. What does that mean?

Keith: The pollsters talked to more than 1,000 people last month. One of the questions was: Have you done any of the following in the past year? And then there was this of things that was bad, like putting off a doctor's visit because of cost or not being able to pay medical bills. Jim Guest is president of Consumer's Union, which puts out Consumer Reports Magazine and the poll.

JIM GUEST:They put off a doctor visit, a medical procedure, a test, they're cutting their pills in half, they're not filling their prescriptions -- therefore foregoing medical treatment that they need because of the cost. And obviously this is affecting not just people without insurance but people with insurance.

Also the poll found that 73 percent of the people they talked to said they were afraid unnecessary treatment would be rationed by an insurance company.

Chiotakis: All right, the poll's been released. Does this, Tamara, Consumer's Union have an agenda?

Keith: Of course they do. They released this poll conveniently on they day they're releasing a television ad campaign to push for health-care reform legislation immediately. They want it right away. They say their goal is to bring the consumer's perspective to this debate. But of course they're not the only ones running ads. There are a million dollars a day being spent on ads nationwide, which could make it hard for their message to break through.

Chiotakis: All right Marketplace's Tamara Keith in Washington. Tamara, thanks.

Keith: Thank you.

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