- (Photo: AP / AJ Mast)
More than a quarter of U.S. adults report that at least one member of their immediate family lost health insurance coverage within the past year, a new poll reveals.
Low-income families, those whose household earning is $35,000 and less, and young adults, ages 18-29 years old, are the most likely to have lost their health coverage, according to the Zogby Interactive poll. Thirty-seven and 35 percent of people in each group, respectively, lost coverage.
In households earning $100,000 or more, about one in five families said they also had an immediate family member lose coverage in the past year.
“Like the overall impact of the recession, it's not just lower-income families and the young who are losing coverage,” said pollster John Zogby.
The survey found 42 percent of respondents say they are very or somewhat concerned they could lose their health insurance within the next year. Though concern rose as household income decreased, even about a third of households with annual earnings of $100,000 or more said they are worried.
Zogby highlighted the finding that the number one reason why people say they are unable to get care is because of the cost (67 percent).
“This survey also dispels the idea that large numbers do not have health insurance by choice,” he said.
The poll was released a day prior to a Capitol Hill rally by religious leaders advocating for affordable coverage for low-income working families.
Faith leaders from across the country gathered Tuesday to tell lawmakers working on health care reform bills that the current Senate version is unacceptable. Clergy leaders noted that in some states the current reform bill would force low-income families to pay twice as much as under other legislations. And in calling for premiums and out-of-pocket costs, the bill would make health care unaffordable for these families.
“We want Senator Reid, Senator Baucus, and Senator Dodd to hear our plea: they must find the political courage to take on special interests to make Senate health care legislation more affordable for families, especially for low-wage workers who, under the Senate Finance legislation, would be required to buy coverage that costs too much and covers too little,” said the Rev. Bill Calhoun, a Presbyterian minister from Denver, Colo., and a spokesperson for faith-based network PICO (People Improving Communities through Organizing).
Last week, health care reform passed a major hurdle when the Senate Finance Committee passed its version of the bill. The different reform bills are currently being melded together, after which the full Senate and House will begin debate on the bills.