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Canadians’ health in an economic downturn


August 17, 2009
By Maria DiDanieli

August 17, Sask. SK – The Canadian Medical Association
(CMA) released its ninth annual National Report Card on Health Care in Canada, today, focusing
on both access to health care services and the effect of the economic downturn
on the health of Canadians.



The
CMA's National Report Card on Health Care measures public opinion gathered by
Ipsos-Reid to examine the attitudes of Canadians on their experiences with the
health care system. The Report Card is critical to the CMA's ongoing commitment
to Canadians to track access to care and government action on the health care
system.



According to the study:

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  • Almost one quarter (23 per cent) of Canadians
    say the economic downturn has
    affected how they take care of their health;
  • Over half of Canadians (52 per cent) are
    worried about their health – only
    slightly fewer than the proportion worried about their financial
    security (57 per cent) and nearly double the percentage worried about losing
    their job (27 per cent);
  • Two out of five Canadians (40 per cent) say they felt stressed and/or
    overwhelmed
    due to financial concerns. That number rises to half (51 per cent) among
    those who earn less than $30,000;
  • Nationally, one quarter (25 per cent) of Canadians have delayed or cancelled
    a dentist appointment as a result of financial concerns. This figure
    jumps to one in three (34 per cent) among Canadians who earn less than
    $30,000;
  • Nationally, nearly one in five Canadians have skipped meals as a
    result of financial concerns. This proportion nearly doubles among
    the lowest income bracket (28 per cent);
  •  One-quarter of Canadians (23 per cent) say they are losing sleep over economic worries. That figure rises to one in three (33 per cent) among those with less than a university degree.







Government and Health Care



In
the 2009 Report Card, Canadians' perceptions of the actions of the federal
government in dealing with health care remained improved slightly from last
year, with 39 per cent assigning either an "A" or "B" grade
to its performance (34 per cent in 2008). This year, 43 per cent of Canadians
graded the performance of their provincial government with either an A or B
grade, a three-point increase over 2008. The similarly middling grades for both
the provincial and federal levels of government translates into a uncertainty
among Canadians as to whether health care services will get better or worse in
their communities over the next two or three years – 51 per cent said they
thought services would get better, while 46 per cent said they will get worse.



Study Methodology



This
research was conducted by telephone and online. Portions of the study that are
tracked with earlier years' research were conducted by telephone. Several new
questions were asked as part of an online survey conducted among members of the
Ipsos Household Panel.

In the telephone survey, Canadians were asked to rate a range of dimensions of
the health care system using a letter grade (i.e., A, B, C or F with A being
the highest grade and F being a failing grade). During the online survey, a
series of questions were asked related to health status and the social
determinants of health. The annual report card telephone survey by Ipsos-Reid
surveyed 1,002 Canadian adults between June 7 and 9, 2009. This sample provides
a +/-3.2 per cent margin of error for the overall national findings 19 times
out of 20.

Between June 25 and July 11th, 2009, Ipsos Reid surveyed 3,223 Canadian adults
online. A sample of this size is associated with a +/- 1.73 percentage point
margin of error. The data was weighted by region, age and gender to ensure the
sample accurately reflects the population according to Census data.

The Report Card can be accessed at: http://www.cma.ca/report-card.htm

The Canadian Press, August 17, 2009