Healthcare In Poor Shape

News Note

By Lara Evans Bracciante

Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, December/January 2005.

Two out of three American adults now believe healthcare coverage should be a “guarantee,” as it is in other countries such as Canada and Britain, and three out of four agree that healthcare is as necessary as water, gas, and electricity. These were just some of the findings released by Results for America, a project of the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute based in Newton, Mass. Other findings include:

• 50 percent of adults have seen their healthcare coverage cut or costs go up.

• 33 percent of adults who use prescription medications already buy or are planning to purchase cheaper drugs from Canada or other countries.

• 18 percent say they either skip medications or reduce dosages to “stretch” their prescriptions due to high costs.

• 50 percent of conservatives, 62 percent of moderates, and 72 percent of liberals support government controls on hospital costs.

• 81 percent support a federal health insurance program covering all children.

One nonprofit group in New York, called Working Today, is providing self-employed professionals — including alternative healthcare practitioners — with group-rate health insurance options through a program called Freelancers Union. The program now provides HMO coverage from a leading private provider to several thousand qualifying New York City-based practitioners, freelancers, consultants, independent contractors, temps, and part-timers. The cost is about $280 a month, compared to the average, open-market HMO premium of $521. At this point, the program is applicable only in New York, but perhaps it signals a trend of good things to come.