With President Clinton’s stent operation of February 11, Americans are reminded of the epidemic of heart disease which will cost the nation $503 billion in 2010. Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 Americans.

But 25% of heart and stroke patients say they can’t afford the treatment they need, whether they lack insurance coverage or don’t have the money to pay for services, medicines, and procedures.

The situation is tougher for stroke patients than CVD patients: 32%
of stroke patients don’t have sufficient coverage to deal with their conditions.

16% of heart/stroke patients under 65 don’t have any health insurance at all. The main reasons for that? Affordability and job losses. Nearly 50% of heart/stroke patients say they’ve tried to buy insurance on their own and the premium was unaffordable.

Among the key health issues driven by personal economics among heart/stroke patients are that:
  • 46% delayed or put off getting needed health care
  • 43% did not fill a prescription
  • 42% delayed or put off a routine check up
  • 35% cut pills in half or skipped doses of meds
  • 31% delayed or put off a screening test that helps identify disease earlier
  • 28% delayed or put off a recommended medical test of treatment for heart disease or stroke
  • 20% tried alternative medicine or therapies instead of seeing a doctor or filling a prescription.
The American Heart Association sponsored this survey, which was conducted between December 29, 2009 and January 5, 2010 by Synovate. A total of 1,015 interviews were conducted online among people with a heart condition, or having had a heart attack or stroke.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:
Heart-broken is how we could describe the U.S. health system for one-half of Americans with heart disease and stroke issues, as the AHA survey demonstrates. As Congress’s willingness to accomplish health reform wanes, patients managing the #1 killer in the U.S. wait in vain.

Dr. Clyde Yancy, President of the AHA, calls this, “The urgency of now.”

With the average age of the survey respondents of 55, they have 10 years to wait for Medicare. By then, will Congress have dealt with bolstering the Medicare plan?

And lest we forget, there’s no cure for heart disease.