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People with heart disease, diabetes or cancer believe economic downturn hurts their health: Poll

August 24, 2015

Approximately 4 in 10 Americans with heart disease (43%) or diabetes (42%) and a fifth of those with cancer (21%) say the economic downturn has made it more stressful for them to manage their illness. As a result of the economic downturn, many of those with heart disease or diabetes also say they are cutting back on care from providers and regimens they follow at home to help manage their illness. For example, roughly a fifth of those with diabetes (19%) say they have skipped or delayed appointments with their doctor or nurse, and 15% say they have skipped or delayed recommended diagnostics or lab tests. At home, 18% of those with diabetes have not been able to follow the diet their provider recommended, and 23% say they are testing their blood sugar less often than they are supposed to. People with heart disease are cutting back to a similar degree, while those with cancer are less likely to be cutting back as a result of the economic downturn.

Most Americans with Heart Disease, Diabetes or Cancer Believe They Will Not be Better Off Under New National Health Care Reform Law

Less than 15% of people with heart disease, diabetes or cancer believe they will be better off under the new national health care reform law (14% of those with heart disease; 14% of those with diabetes and 11% of those with cancer). By comparison, approximately 4 in 10 believe they will be worse off under the new law (41% of those with heart disease; 38% of those with diabetes and 43% of those with cancer), and the remainder believe the law won't make much difference (34% of those with heart disease; 29% of those with diabetes; 38% of those with cancer) or don't know what the law's impact will be for them (11% of those with heart disease; 19% of those with diabetes; 8% of those with cancer).

"Although experts suggest the health care reform law has provisions that could help people with illnesses like heart disease, diabetes or cancer, many people who have such diseases do not believe it," said Professor Robert J. Blendon, director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health