About 98 million million people or 38 per cent of the Americans either delayed or skipped treatment in the last six months because of high health care price, according to a new survey West Health and Gallup.
The survey also found that people cut back on driving, utilities, and food, or borrow money to pay medical bills in the last six months.
TREATMENT; OWER-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS
In the survey, the authors noted that people in lower income households made these kinds of tradeoffs. However, they also noted that higher earners were not immune. The study said that more than half of households earning less than 48,000 dollar a year made spending cuts. It further noted that nearly 20 per cent of households earning more than 180,000 dollar a year were forced to cut back too. Women under the age of 50 also cut back on medical care and medicine at higher rates than their male counterparts (36% to 27%, respectively) and much higher than men generally (22%).
West Health president Timothy A. Lash pointed out that people have been making tradeoffs to pay for healthcare for years. “Inflation has only made things worse as people are also now struggling with the high price of gas, food, and electricity,” Lash said.
West Health states inflation in healthcare, which stood at 4.5% in June 2022, was half the overall inflation rate, which spiked to 9.1% in June, primarily because of rising prices for gas, food, and rent.
Most Americans are not even thinking about how inflation may increase healthcare prices given the spikes in gas and food. When asked, “For which one of the following expenses do you expect costs to rise the most in the next six months?”, 43% of respondents cited gas, followed by food (34%). Healthcare was mentioned by only 3% of respondents.
Aside from the tradeoffs that Americans are making to afford healthcare in the current inflationary environment, one in four (26%) say they simply avoided medical care or purchasing prescription drugs altogether because of higher prices and were either unable or unwilling to divert funds from somewhere else to pay for it.
The study says that the future does not look bright for these Americans in terms of relief at the pharmacy counter. It said that 39 per cent were “extremely concerned” or “concerned” about being unable to pay for care in the next six months. This includes 33 per cent of Democrats, 44 per cent of Republicans and 42 per cent of independents.
Apart from this, the survey also looked at how inflation was changing consumer behaviors. Senior researcher at Gallup ,” said Dan Witters said that inflation was hollowing out consumer spending habits across an array of areas. . “What is found just under the surface is that after gas and groceries, the role of inflation in reducing the pursuit of needed care is large and significant. And the rising cost of care itself, which is originating from an already elevated level, is having an outsized impact on lessening other forms of spending, compounding the problem,” ,” said Dan Witters.
In the survey, the authors say Americans, irrespective of race, gender, income or political identity, hold little confidence in their elected representatives to Congress or their own state government to slow rising costs. Three in five adults (59%) are “not at all confident,” and another 35% are “not too confident” that their own members of Congress will take action to lower healthcare costs in the coming months. Only 6% are “somewhat” or “very confident.”
Results are based on a survey conducted by web June 2-16, 2022, with 3,001 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia as a part of the Gallup Panel. West Health is a solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C.