6/6/05 Contact: David Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)
Jim Seroka, 334/844-4781 (jseroka@auburn.edu)

ALABAMIANS RATE THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE GOOD, BUT HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT COST AND COVERAGE FOR OTHERS

AUBURN – Most Alabamians are satisfied with their own health care coverage, but a new poll shows almost half report they still worry about cost, problems with health care providers and the accessibility of health services for others.

These are among the findings of a recent Ask Alabama public opinion survey, conducted by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University . Ask Alabama releases periodic results of polls on topics of interest to Alabamians.

In a state where health care historically has been a problem, (85 percent) of citizens polled assess their personal health coverage as good to excellent. However, there is still a strong perception that fellow citizens do not enjoy similar coverage. Some 66 percent of respondents believe most Alabamians do not have access to adequate health care. Fifty-eight percent feel state leaders are not giving enough attention to the issue.

Poll director Jim Seroka believes their concern is genuine, though maybe exaggerated. “Access to health care is an issue Alabamians care deeply about, and one that state leaders need to address,” says Seroka. “Interestingly, most of the concern indicated by citizens is not for themselves, but for their neighbors.”

Even with a high rate of personal satisfaction, 48 percent of respondents report they have had significant problems with their healthcare providers in the last year. Difficulty paying medical fees is the biggest concern (32 percent). Other problems noted were loss of coverage or inability to obtain coverage because of medical history.

In spite of problems and lingering concerns, 65 percent still believe the quality of health care in their own community is excellent or good and more than 80 percent of Alabamians feel they have adequate access to medical services.

“It speaks well of the progress that has been made in the State that two out of three Alabamians now characterize their community's health care to be excellent or good,” says Seroka.

Complete results of the Ask Alabama poll on “Access to Health Care” can be found at www.askalabama.org. The poll had a sample size of 603 resident Alabamians 19 or older, and an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

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