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CU launches first TV ad for health reform

Monday, October 5, 2009


YONKERS, N.Y. – As the healthcare debate continues in Washington, Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, today released a national poll that says 51 percent of Americans have been confronted with tough health choices in the past year, such as putting off a doctor visit, not being able to afford medical bills or medication, or declining a medical test because of cost.
The poll comes as Consumers Union launches a TV ad calling upon Washington to reform America’s healthcare system. This marks the first time that the 73-year-old organization has ever run a TV ad to weigh in on a policy issue.
In the new poll 59 percent said that the cost of their healthcare had increased more than their other expenses over the past two years. Fifty-one percent said they had faced difficult healthcare choices in the past year. The most common responses were putting off a doctor visit because of cost (28 percent), not being unable to afford medical bills or medication (25 percent), and putting off a medical procedure because of cost (22 percent).
Twenty-eight percent said they had lost or experienced cutbacks in their healthcare coverage in the past year. The greatest concerns about healthcare expressed by respondents were a major financial loss or setback from medical cost due to an illness or accident (73 percent), not being able to afford healthcare in the future (73 percent), necessary care being denied or rationed by health insurance companies (73 percent), and the prospect of rising costs forcing them to choose between healthcare and other necessities (64 percent).
The national telephone poll of 1,002 adults was conducted September 17-20, 2009, by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. The margin of error is +/- 3.2% points at a 95 percent confidence level.
In the 30-second TV spot that begins running today, Consumers Union President and CEO Jim Guest cites the urgent need for lawmakers to find a solution for affordable and reliable healthcare.
“Today, healthcare costs too much,” Guest says in the ad. “Many Americans are one pink slip or major illness away from losing their coverage. We at Consumers Union say this problem must be fixed this year, for everyone’s sakes. Washington, the time for healthcare reform is now.”
The TV spot can be seen online at: http://www.consumerreports.org/health/insurance/from-the-president-health-reform/overview/from-our-president-health-care-reform-09.htm
Guest said CU’s decision to air its first-ever TV ad on a policy issue stemmed from hearing from consumers about their concerns and frustrations with healthcare.
“So much attention is being paid to the politics of the health debate that we’re losing sight of the problems that consumers face every day,” Guest said. “The high cost of healthcare impacts all of us. Our organization focuses on what’s in the best interest of consumers. We just want solutions for better healthcare. Doing nothing about healthcare is not a solution.”
Consumers Union has advocated for healthcare reforms as part of its mission to serve and protect consumers ever since the organization was founded in 1936. Consumer Reports recently published a four-part investigative series on health, including an in-depth look at underinsured Americans. In 2009 the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center launched a hospital ratings and compare tool that reflects patient experiences and satisfaction at more than 3,400 U.S. hospitals. Consumers Union advocates have helped pass laws to improve patient safety, and they embarked on a cross-country bus tour in 2008 to hear from Americans about their healthcare experiences.

David Butler, 202-462-6262, ext. 1116
Bethanne Fox, 301-576-6359
Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving the consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health, nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public, and protect consumers.