DENVER — A new poll released today shows that the majority of Coloradans worry about their ability to pay for even their usual health care services, and while they blame a range of players for the high costs, they are clear who should solve the problem: the government.
Coloradans also see inequity and systemic racism as creating barriers for some people in the healthcare system, and they want everyone, not just some, to have affordable healthcare.
The non-partisan research firm PerryUndem developed the survey for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and state partners including the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, the Colorado Children’s Campaign, One Colorado, the Chronic Care Collaborative, and the Center for Health Progress.
Some highlights of the poll
Healthcare is unaffordable:
- Two-thirds of Coloradans aren’t very confident they can pay for their usual health care services.
- Six in 10 don’t think healthcare costs are “very affordable,” citing ER and hospital bills, surprise bills and deductibles as some of the least-affordable costs.
- Nearly half of Coloradans have delayed a recommended medical procedure because their insurance denied it, it was unaffordable, or they couldn’t get services where they lived.
- Six in 10 feel everyone should be able to get affordable healthcare and coverage in Colorado regardless of their immigration status.
Inequity and barriers for some are significant problems:
- Six in 10 feel that systemic racism is a problem in the healthcare system.
- Sixty-one percent think that everyone, regardless of immigration status, should be able to access affordable healthcare.
- Three in 4 say that some people face more barriers to getting high-quality care and 80 percent agree that someone’s background — income, gender, the language they speak or immigration status — should not create barriers.
Many have created the problems; Government should solve them:
- Coloradans say the federal government, insurance companies, drug corporations, and Wall Street firms share the blame for high costs; but most want the government to solve the problem.
- Six in ten want big, fundamental changes to the healthcare system, while the rest want smaller changes.
- People want laws (support ranging from 82%-53%) to lower drug costs, to limit hospital charges, to eliminate or cap deductibles, and lower premiums via tax credits, Medicare for all, and expanding Medicaid for immigrants and non-citizens.
“After our Consumer Assistance Program has helped over 1,700 Coloradans fight outrageous healthcare bills in the last 4 years and saved them $4.5 million, we weren’t surprised to hear that the majority feel their healthcare is out of reach or unaffordable,” said Adam Fox, deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “But we found it significant that six in 10 think everyone should have access to affordable coverage regardless of their immigration status, and that while entities from hospitals to the insurance industry to the pharma industry share responsibility for the high costs, Coloradans are looking to the government for solutions. We are also unified in our knowledge that systemic racism is a problem in our healthcare system, creating barriers for some more than others, and we want that addressed.”
“The survey results paint a clear picture of the problems at hand: health care is not affordable for the majority of Coloradans, and communities of color too often bear the brunt of the inadequacies in our system,” says Julia Char Gilbert, Connelly Policy Advocate at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. “But the data also indicate that Colorado is ready for change. The overwhelming majority of Coloradans believe in a more affordable, more equitable health care system. And most are eager for bold policy changes that will get us there.”
“This data is consistent with what we have been hearing from Coloradans living with chronic conditions, that they cannot count on or afford their current health care coverage,” said Sara Froelich, executive director of the Chronic Care Collaborative. “It also confirms Coloradans view affordability as encompassing all of their health care bills and expenses. We look forward to working with policy makers to improve health care affordability so all Coloradans can access the care they need to stay healthy.”
“At Center for Health Progress, we believe that health care is a right and it’s great to see that the majority of Coloradans agree. Now is the time for our government to address the high-costs that are keeping health out of reach for so many,” said Rayna Hetlage, Senior Policy Manager at Center for Health Progress. “We know that immigrant communities and BIPOC are particularly hurt by the unjust systems and policies that put profits over people. Hopefully these results will show our government officials that there is widespread support for changing the health care system so that it values humanity and wellness for all, not just a few.”
The full polling memo is available here: https://cohealthinitiative.
CCHI and partners will host a zoom briefing on the survey results, open to the public, on Thursday, March 17th, 1-2pm. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, membership-based group advocating for equitable access to high-quality, affordable health care. CCHI serves Coloradans whose access to health care and financial security are compromised by structural barriers, affordability, poor benefits, or unfair business practices of the health care industry.