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Not What the Doctor Ordered: Scrimping on Medical Costs

Not What the Doctor Ordered: Scrimping on Medical Costs

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

When more than half of American families sampled in a recent poll say they're skimping on medical care to save money, that's a story by any measure - and one that's easy to localize. A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health policy think tank, found that Americans say they are relying on over-the-counter drugs rather than visiting a doctor, skipping dental care, skipping doses of medication to make it last longer, or not filling prescriptions at all.

I like this particular poll because it's very recent - it was conducted Feb. 3-12, 2009 - and included 1,204 English- and Spanish-speaking adults. That's more than twice as many as typically covered in such phone surveys.

Here's one interesting disconnect from the poll that's worth keeping in mind as you cover the unfolding health care reform story: while nearly 60 percent of people polled felt taking action on health care reform was critically important, only about 40 percent felt it would personally benefit them. Why do you think that might be? Post your comments below and I'll round them up in a future post.

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