Study: Americans losing confidence in health insurance
Web posted at: 1:13 p.m. EST (1813 GMT)
(CNN) -- The number of Americans without health insurance has gone up in the past two years, and the cost of health care has many employers considering cutting benefits.
Those are the findings of a new survey by a Texas medical school and hospital. And the survey warns that the prognosis isn't improving.
According to the survey, backed by the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Texas Children's Hospital, 43 million people in the United States don't have health insurance. That number has gone up by 1.7 million from 1996.
The study's authors concluded people are losing confidence in the health care system and their ability to keep their insurance.
Almost half the public is worried that they won't be able to afford quality health care in the future, said Arthur Garson Jr., academic dean of the Baylor medical school, who said he is very concerned about this.
Researchers contacted nearly 3,000 people for the survey, including groups of doctors, business benefits staffers, state legislators and congressional aides. They found employers are also concerned, and many are looking for ways to save money.
The study found businesses considering plans to shift more employees and retirees into managed care or hire more part- time workers without health benefits. And a few businesses will reduce or drop coverage altogether.
Faced with those conditions, many of those surveyed were looking to their elected representatives for answers, Garson said.
"A vast majority -- 87 percent of the public -- said that they wanted a legislator to help them with the system," he said. But "A very, very small minority of the health staffers felt that way."
The study is "somewhat of a wakeup call for legislators, telling them that you're not thinking boldly enough," said Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change.CNN Medical Correspondent Dr. Steve Salvatore contributed to this report.
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