(10/04/2008)
The government nor the free market have been able to tackle the decline of the US health care system, with at least 50 million people uninsured and millions more under-insured.

The coverage crisis is worsening as employers can no longer afford to pay for health insurance, and hundreds of retirement programs have already bellied-up that provided health insurance.

Most American workers cannot afford to buy private insurance.

A new survey says the majority of West Virginia residents with weight and health problems admit they need help, but many don't see a doctor because they can't afford it or can't get there.

Eighty-four percent of 625 people questioned in a poll commissioned by a new coalition called West Virginians' Campaign for a Healthy Future agree that West Virginia residents are overweight and don't take care of themselves.

The telephone poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group of New York during the last week of August, found that 33 percent of West Virginia's low-income residents haven't gone to the doctor in the past year because of the costs.

Nineteen percent didn't go because there was no physician available in their area.

"We have a very, very strong need in West Virginia, and that is we need to provide health-care coverage to every West Virginian," said George Manahan, a spokesman for the coalition.

The coalition is composed of 37 business, labor, health-care advocacy and provider groups.

The group's goal is the passage of state legislation to significantly reduce health-care costs and increase access to quality care.

Manahan said the initiative started over the past year with a handful of organizations - including the AARP, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the AFL-CIO, the West Virginia Education Association, West Virginians for Affordable Health Care and the West Virginia Council of Churches - deciding "to get together to stop fighting against each other and start fighting with each other."

The coalition has grown to include many other labor and business groups and is also recruiting individuals to join the effort.

See   wvhealthyfuture.com

Other key findings were: 45 percent of those polled are very worried about having to pay more for health care and 40 percent are very worried they won't be able to pay medical bills for serious injury.


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