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Opinions of Pennsylvanians Age 50+ on Health Care Reform

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In 2007, Governor Rendell proposed Rx for Pennsylvania, a health care reform plan with three primary components: “Cover All Pennsylvanians,” a plan that envisions all state residents obtaining health insurance; a quality improvement plan that focuses on reducing hospital-acquired infections and promoting wellness programs; and an access expansion plan to reduce emergency room visits and more fully utilize alternatives to physicians for routine health care needs.

AARP's Pennsylvania State Office commissioned this study to assess the opinions of the 50+ population on some elements of the Governor's plan, as well as to better understand the experiences and concerns of this population relative to health care access and costs. Key findings from this study show:

  • Four out of five Pennsylvania residents age 50+ say their out-of pocket medical expenses have increased over the last five years. When thinking about the next five years, nine in ten of these residents are concerned about having to pay more for their health care, and eight in ten are concerned about having fewer health care services being covered.
  • Although most respondents say the state of health care in Pennsylvania has major problems, they understand the security health care coverage provides: eight in ten say all Pennsylvania residents should have access to affordable, quality health care and that it is important to reduce the number of residents without health care coverage.
  • A majority of respondents support several proposals tested in the survey: using tobacco taxes to pay for state-level health care, requiring employers who do not provide health care coverage to pay a fee that allows the State to help these uninsured employers buy coverage, and providing financial incentives to hospitals to build community care centers so those without insurance can receive quality health care in a non-emergency setting.

This telephone survey of 820 Pennsylvania residents age 50 and older was conducted between December 19, 2007, and January 5, 2008. For more information, contact Kate Bridges at 207-899-2094. (20 pages)

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