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Report: No Room for Health Care in OH Family Budgets

April 30, 2008

Columbus, OH – If you're a working Ohioan who's having a hard time paying for health care, you're not alone. A new report from Policy Matters Ohio looks at common household costs such as housing, utilities, and food, and finds that there's nothing left for health care costs for three-quarters of uninsured Ohioans.

Margaret Demko of Athens is a member of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage; she says a growing number of people are facing a tough choice in their household budgets.

"We're looking at families who actually have to think every month about: Do I make my health coverage payments, my doctor payments, or do I look at my mortgage or do I look at my car payment, and which is it that I can sacrifice now -- and that's just totally unacceptable."

Karen Krause of Toledo is also a member of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage. She says even before this year's rise in food and fuel costs, health care was out of reach for too many Ohioans.

"Purchasing health care in the private market is unaffordable for a large number of individuals, particularly those that are at low and modest incomes."

Brynna Fish of Cleveland Heights, who lost her job and health coverage after experiencing health problems, says that opened her eyes to the problem of paying for health care.

"I, like a lot of folks, thought: 'It's those other people who aren't insured, it's the people who are lazy and not working.' So I think there is a major stigma in our society, that we don't get it that health care should be universal and there should be access for everybody."

Margaret Demko says lawmakers should take a close look at the report and use it to come up with a plan to make coverage available and affordable to all Ohioans. A task force appointed by Governor Ted Strickland is reviewing health care policy options.

Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OH