Insurance, vaccinations & substance abuse top list of concerns in healthcare study

Concerning Kids: A Skillman Study released its fourth poll last month with in-depth analysis of the concerns of metro Detroit residents about health care for children. Generally, metro Detroit residents consider children and youth healthcare as a very important issue in their communities rating the issue an 8.7 on a ten-point importance scale. The issue is a particular concern in the city of Detroit, rating it 9.2 out of 10, significantly higher when compared to tri-county residents.

"The survey finds widespread concern on a wide variety of children's health issues," said Chris Barnes, associate director of the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut and director of the study. "The study also indicates a sense among residents that state government should be playing a greater role in finding solutions to these difficult problems."

Health insurance coverage is considered better in Oakland, Macomb, and Out-Wayne than in the city of Detroit. Seven out of ten (71%) residents in the city of Detroit think that the amount of families without health insurance in their community is a major problem. This number is significantly lower in Macomb (36%), Oakland (41%) and Out-Wayne County (45%).

"With our focus on children and youth, we have always been aware of problems related to health access and insurance. This study helps us to put in better perspective the concerns Metro Detroit residents have about children's health," said Kari Schlachtenhaufen, President and CEO of The Skillman Foundation.

The findings highlight the results of the fourth survey of "Concerning Kids: A Skillman Study" conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut. Most striking is the dichotomy between Detroit residents and their suburban neighbors in how they express their concern and evaluate healthcare in general. Access to prenatal care, dental care, and healthcare in general are more of a problem in the city of Detroit than in Out-Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties. City of Detroit residents compared to tri-country residents report a lower quality of care for their children. City of Detroit residents also displays the highest number of family members who visited the emergency room in the past six months and are significantly more likely to report they do not have coverage and to report the cost of healthcare is not affordable.

Among other key findings of the survey:

On specific health issues:

  • 81% strongly agree that youth should be required to have a state mandated sex education class in school.
  • Metropolitan Detroit residents think that most parents today are not placing enough emphasis on proper nutrition.
  • Residents consider obesity to be a problem in their communities.
  • Only 4 in 10 (38%) have a good amount of trust that children in foster care in the State of Michigan are living in a safe environment.
  • Newspapers, physician offices, and media in general constitute the major sources of healthcare information.

On substance abuse issues:

  • By the overall mean rating, smoking cigarettes comes first with a mean rating of 7.73 followed by drinking alcohol (6.71) and using drugs (6.59).
  • Marijuana (80%), Ecstasy (20%), Cocaine (16%), Alcohol (13%), and Crack (7%) are mentioned as types of illegal drugs that are believed to be the most often used by youth.
  • Peer pressure is believed to be by far the main reason children or teens under the age of 18 use illegal drugs.
  • Friends and mothers, followed by fathers, have greater influence on children and youth with regard to these issues.

Clearly, according to the study, residents would like the government to play a greater role in solving these issues. At least six out of ten residents in each county strongly favors expanding Medicaid and the MICHILD. Metropolitan Detroit residents are also in favor of expanding government programs for low-income people to provide dental care for people without dental insurance. Overall, improving the public schools (34%) followed by making quality healthcare more affordable (31%) stand out as what should be the top priority for the state government. The next two priorities are providing health insurance to families who lack it (16%) and lowering taxes (16%).

Concerning Kids has concluded the fourth phase of a two-year study of Metro Detroit residents, ranking their opinions on issues relating to school-age children. The in-depth phone survey interviewed 1,600 adults in the City of Detroit, outlying Wayne County, Macomb County and Oakland County.

To read the study, please click here.