Access to affordable, quality health care and insurance coverage is an issue that concerns many Louisiana residents. The state ranks fifth in the country in the percentage of its population without health insurance, and its poverty rate is the fourth worst in the nation.
As the Louisiana State Legislature works to ensure affordable and accessible health care coverage for all state residents, AARP Louisiana commissioned a survey to understand residents' perceptions about their health, examine how they prioritize health care, and consider specific ways to improve and expand access to health care coverage. This telephone survey of self-identified registered voters in Louisiana finds that:
- Voters believe that the Louisiana health care system needs improvement. Louisiana's health care system is in either a state of crisis or has major problems, according to 72 percent of those polled.
- Rising health care costs are of concern to respondents. Over three-quarters (77%) experienced increases in out-of-pocket costs for health care over the past five years. Given this trend of rising costs, about seven in ten say that they are extremely or very concerned about having to pay more for their health care (71%) and not being able to pay for the costs of a major illness or injury (67%).
- Louisiana voters look to state officials to ensure affordable, quality health care coverage. Almost all respondents (93%) agree that all Louisianans should have access to quality, affordable health care coverage; 63% say they are more likely to vote for a candidate that supports this issue.
- Respondents believe that both employers and government should contribute to a system that provides quality, affordable health care to all. Over half strongly agree that employers (59%), the federal government (55%), and state government (52%) should contribute to such a system.
- Voters believe that all lower-income and uninsured residents should have options to receive quality, affordable health care. About four in five (83%) agree that the Charity Hospital System serving mostly poor and uninsured residents in Louisiana should be rebuilt. On the other hand, majorities of survey respondents also support shifting government funds from the Charity Hospital system to provide reasonable payments to doctors and hospitals who treat lower-income uninsured residents (68%) and to pay for health insurance coverage for lower-income uninsured residents (59%).
AARP commissioned FGI Research, Inc. to conduct this telephone survey of 803 Louisiana residents age 18 and older who identified themselves as registered voters between December 19, 2007, and January 13, 2008. For more information, contact Joanne Binette at 202-434-6303. (28 pages)