A new survey released by Gallup and West Health shows that one in four Americans chose not to receive treatment for a health issue in 2018 because of the high cost. The survey found that 45% of all Americans are constantly worried that a health issue could send them into bankruptcy. 19% have also delayed buying the medicines they need because of the high price. The findings of the survey provide a sneak preview of the increasing burden of healthcare in the US. Tens of millions of US citizens are forced to borrow money and cut on other household expenses in order to afford healthcare.
In 2018, for example, Americans borrowed $88 billion to pay for health-related issues in total. According to the Gallup survey, 12% of all Americans borrowed money for healthcare in 2018 while 23% had to cut on other household expenses in order to pay for the care they needed. Healthcare spending is also on the rise. OECD’s data from 2017 shows that the US spent $3.5 trillion on health care that year. This represented a 3.9% jump compared to the previous year. It also translates to an average of $10,700 per person.
The findings of the Gallup survey also noted that, while most Americans think that the US healthcare system is among the best in the world, in comparison to cost, it’s actually the worst. In other words, a lot of Americans feel that the cost of healthcare is significantly inflated making it hard for most people to afford it. As a result, the nation is increasingly concerned about the possible economic impact of rising healthcare costs. The Gallup survey showed that at least 77% of all Americans believe the rising healthcare costs will have a negative effect on the national economy.
The results of this survey come as Congress continues to spar over healthcare policy. Just last week, the Trump administration filed a suit in a federal court of appeals to try and invalidate the Affordable Care Act. The president had also gathered GOP lawmakers in the White House to discuss possible healthcare reforms before the 2020 election. However, senior Republicans in Congress advised him that changing current healthcare legislation is impossible at the moment. Trump later confirmed in a series of tweets that the GOP will not be pursuing Congressional repeal of Obamacare. Instead, the president said that he is working on a comprehensive healthcare plan that will be presented to the people as part of the 2020 presidential campaign.
Healthcare is expected to be one of the key issues in the 2020 race. Many Democrats feel that the Affordable Care Act is fine as it is but the GOP has expressed its desire to repeal and replace it. Previous efforts to do so during the last Congress didn’t materialize though. The Gallup poll indicates that most Americans are concerned about the current status of healthcare in the country. The survey involved 3,537 adults from 50 US states. The data was collected from 1st January to 20th February.