Adults More Concerned About Rising Cost of U.S. Healthcare Than Iraq War

    ASQ Survey Shows Overwhelming Support for Universal Coverage

    MILWAUKEE, March 22 /CNW/ - The rising cost of U.S. healthcare is a
pressing concern for 85 percent of U.S. adults(1), according to a recent
survey sponsored by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and conducted by
Harris Interactive(R). In fact, healthcare costs overtake U.S. adults' concern
for other hot button issues including the war in Iraq (79 percent), the rising
cost of fuel (80 percent) and the threat of global warming (61 percent).

    These findings contrast with results of a recent New York Times/CBS Poll
that ranked Iraq as America's top overall issue. The issue of universal
healthcare coverage wins even stronger approval in the ASQ survey which found
that 79 percent of adults believe universal coverage would improve healthcare
quality. According to the ASQ survey, nearly nine in 10 (88 percent) adults
think being able to go to any doctor would also improve the quality of their
healthcare over the next five years.

    "It's clear that Americans are getting hit hard by our current healthcare
crisis and they are looking for change," said Dr. Jim Levett, ASQ Healthcare
Division officer. "This survey shows the increasing importance for both the
U.S. administration - as well as healthcare organizations across the country -
to look for new solutions to improve the quality of healthcare while still
managing escalating costs."

    Other survey findings:

    --  More than one in four U.S. adults have not filled a prescription (29
percent) or have delayed a medical procedure due to expense (28 percent).
Those most likely to not fill a prescription are adults who live in the
southern United States (35 percent South, vs. 24 percent Northeast, 25 percent
Midwest and 27 percent West). The South is where health insurance coverage is
the lowest, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    --  Women are more likely than men to think universal healthcare coverage
would improve the quality of healthcare over the next 5 years (83 percent
women vs. 75 percent men). This could correlate to the finding that women (38
percent) are more likely than men (19 percent) to have failed to fill a
prescription due to expense and women (34 percent) are also more likely than
men (22 percent) to delay medical procedures due to expense.

    --  68 percent of adults indicated that they thought it would improve the
quality of healthcare over the next 5 years if individuals became less
dependent on health insurance companies for the cost of their own healthcare.
Men (71 percent) are more likely than women (66 percent) to indicate that they
thought lower dependency would improve healthcare quality.

    --  39 percent of adults said they would be concerned/very concerned
about medical errors occurring if they were hospitalized.

    --  80 percent of U.S. adults visited the doctor within the past year.

    ASQ commissioned this survey in an effort to provide healthcare quality
professionals with a better understanding of the most pressing healthcare
quality and cost concerns that are affecting patients today.

    About the Survey

    Harris Interactive fielded the online survey within the United States on
behalf of the American Society for Quality between February 26 and February
28, 2007 among 2,758 U.S. adults 18 years of age or older. Figures for region,
age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were
weighted where necessary to bring them in line with their actual proportions
in the population. The data were also weighted to be representative of the
online population of U.S. adults.

    With a pure probability sample of 2,758, one could say with a 95 percent
probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage
points Sampling error for sub samples may be higher and varies. This online
survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical
sampling error can be calculated.

    About Harris Interactive

    Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market
research firm in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights
and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which
lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris
Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running,
independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods.
The company has built what it believes to be the world's largest panel of
survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients
worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned
subsidiary Novartris in France and through a global network of independent
market research firms. More information about Harris may be obtained at

    About American Society for Quality

    The American Society for Quality is the world's leading
authority on quality. With more than 90,000 individual and organizational
members, the professional association advances learning, quality improvement
and knowledge exchange to improve business results, and to create better
workplaces and communities worldwide. ASQ is also a leader in providing
resources, training, certification and networking opportunities to
professionals in healthcare. Quality professionals across all segments of
healthcare use ASQ's resources to improve quality of care, patient safety and
satisfaction, organizational efficiencies and the bottom line. Headquartered
in Milwaukee, Wis., the 60-year-old organization is a founding partner of the
American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a prominent quarterly economic
indicator, and also produces the Quarterly Quality Report.

    (1) Those who say they are very concerned/concerned.

For further information:

For further information: American Society for Quality Christel Henke,
414-332-2933 or Megan Coulomb, 800-248-1946

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