Poll: Gas Prices, Job Pay, Health Care Top Americans' Economic Problems

Escalating prices at the pump and not having a high enough income to cover the new extravagance of driving while also eating and paying monthly bills are among Americans' top personal economic problems, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Health care costs are also near the top, the poll finds, and struggles to deal with those costs have affected both Americans' financial well-being and their family's health care. Nearly three in 10 Americans (28 percent) report that they or their families have had a serious problem paying for health care and health insurance as a result of recent changes in the economy, behind paying for gas (44 percent) and about tied with getting a good-paying job or raise in pay (29 percent). Smaller percentages report serious problems paying their rent or mortgage (19 percent), dealing with credit card or other personal debt (18 percent), paying for food (18 percent), or losing money in the stock market (16 percent).

Reports of families facing serious economic problems extend up into middle-income families, with almost three in 10 (28 percent) of those earning between $30,000 and $75,000 reporting a serious problem paying for health care or health insurance as a result of recent changes in the economy. The high cost of health care also caused a significant number of Americans to delay or go without medical care. Among all adults, seven percent say that, in the past year, they or someone in their household decided to get married in order to have access to their spouse's health care benefits, or so their spouse could have access to their benefits.

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