8 million in US skipped treatment or cut back on essentials to pay for healthcare this year.
"People have been making trade-offs 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," said the president of West Health, which conducteda new poll with Gallup.
With inflation at a 40-year high this year, nearly 100 million Americans skipped care or cut back on necessities to cover the rising cost of medical treatment in a nation infamous for its for-profit system, according to polling results released this week.
Inflation rose to 9.1% in June—and healthcare inflation was at 4.5%—when Gallup and West Health asked people across the country how they had handled higher healthcare costs over the past six months.
38% of Americans—representing an estimated 98 million people—reported doing one or more of the following: delaying or avoiding medical care or buying prescription drugs; driving less; cutting back on utilities; skipping a meal; and borrowing money.
A majority of respondents with an annual household income below $48,000 cut back on essentials, but so did nearly 20% of people with a household income above $180,000.
"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%)," the groups noted.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2022, 39% of those surveyed are "concerned" or "extremely concerned" about being unable to cover the cost of care.
West Health president Timothy A. Lash stressed 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."
The poll also revealed that 70% of Americans have skipped care or cut back on necessities in the past six months because of the rising prices of goods.
"Inflation is hollowing out consumer spending habits across an array of areas," said Gallup senior researcher Dan Witters. "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," he added.
Ian: As an Australian watching from afar, I have always been amazed that Americans accept this for-profit commercialised health model where insurance companies get to tell you which ‘pet’ doctor you can consult with, and where millions of people have no basic health cover. I’m also amazed that my opinion, if I was in the USA, would probably be seen as socialist. I am so very grateful to the Australian government for their healthcare model which means that although there may be some waits for medical support, everyone is eligible for free cover. If we want a higher level of cover, we can choose to pay for it, but no-one is left out!
This report also reminds me that ultimately, my health is my affair and not the affair of the state or an insurance company, and my body care strategy is mine to choose. Next month I’ll be 76, and this morning, as I do many mornings, I climbed Cape Byron, a strenuous walking trail. And I did it fully hydrated with my secret weapon, UltraStream alkaline, hydrogen-rich ultra pure water. I find it hard to believe that some people choose to ignore the quality of the water they ingest, or even choose to never ingest water, choosing soda, or coffee, ar alcohol instead. YOU ARE WATER! At least 70% anyway, so how can you figure that paying no attention to supporting that-which-you-are with real hydration isn’t the simplest and most important health and longevity strategy possible?