September 9, 1999
Danny Devine
(202) 775-6308
devine@ebri.org, EBRI
Paul Fronstin
(202) 775-6352
fronstin@ebri.org, EBRI


WASHINGTON, DC—Americans overwhelmingly think that making health care more affordable should be a major goal of U.S. health care reform, according to preliminary results of the 1999 Health Confidence Survey (HCS) conducted by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). Fully 89 percent of the 1,001 individuals surveyed by EBRI reported this goal for reform.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the survey also found that the cost of health insurance is the major reason why most people lack health care coverage: 77 percent of the uninsured cited cost as the major reason for not having health insurance.

These are among the early findings of the 1999 HCS, to be released in full by EBRI next month. The 1999 HCS was sponsored by EBRI, the Consumer Health Education Council, and Mathew Greenwald & Associates, and examines Americans' satisfaction with health care today, their confidence in managed care, Medicare and the system's future, and public attitudes towards health care reform.

The survey is timely, as Congress is expected to act on managed care legislation this Fall that may result in significant changes to the employment-based health care system in the United States. Job-based health care coverage is not only ranked by workers as the single most valued employment benefit, but is currently is the primary source of health insurance for the vast majority of Americans: Two-thirds of all those under age 65, amounting to 151.7 million Americans, get their health coverage through depend on employment-based health insurance.

"Any policies that result in an increase in health care costs is in direct contrast to Americans' health reform goals, and will ultimately increase the uninsured," said EBRI President Dallas L. Salisbury.

The full report will be released in October.

EBRI is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization based in Washington, DC. Founded in 1978, its mission is to contribute to, to encourage, and to enhance the development of sound employee benefit programs and sound public policy through objective research and education. EBRI does not lobby and does not take positions on legislative proposals.

CHEC is a private, nonpartisan, nonlobbying council of private and public organizations formed to undertake and encourage initiatives aimed at raising public awareness about health care coverage. CHEC is part of the Employee Benefit Research Institute Education and Research Fund (EBRI-ERF), a 501(c)(3) organization.

MGA is a full-service market research and consulting firm located in Washington, DC, that specializes in all aspects of survey research design and analysis, focus group and one-on-one qualitative research; new product development and testing; marketing, communications and advertising research; attitude tracking surveys; market segmentation; and database marketing and analysis.

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