Healthcare Costs Cause Problems For Everyone, Regardless of Income

There is likely a sense that only people who do not make a lot of money are unable to afford paying for healthcare, and while that is largely true, data from a nationwide poll reveals that regardless of how much money an individual makes, healthcare costs force difficult decisions to be made. About 46 million people say they would be unable to pay for healthcare today if they needed access to it, and just as many reported that someone in their household has skipped care that was needed during the past 12 months, according to the results of a nationwide poll that was released by Gallup recently.

While 35% of households making less than $24,000 per year skipped treatment because of the costs, 10% of households making between $120,000 and $180,000 and 7% of households making more than $180,00 per year have also done so.

To cover the costs of healthcare, many individuals are cutting back on spending, regardless of how much money they make. Half of those making under $24,000 have cut back on recreational or leisure activities to pay for healthcare or medicine, while 21% of those making at least $180,000 have done so, too. Forty-three percent of those making under $24,000 have cut back on clothing spending, compared with 13% of those making more than $180,000.

Given the choices that are being made in households across the country, regardless of how much money that household makes, it should come as no surprise that many individuals are in favor of government action to make healthcare more affordable. Nearly 90% of respondents, including an overwhelming majority of Republicans, are in favor of setting caps on out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and general healthcare services in Medicare.

“The practical ramifications of widespread reductions in basic household spending to offset the cost of care are considerable and should not come with great surprise given the substantial number of Americans who suffer its effects,” Gallup wrote in its report detailing the survey results. “Dovetailing with these realities is majority support for a number of public policies currently being considered, underscoring a public that continues to remain open to government action designed to provide relief from healthcare expenses.”

Many states, including New Mexico, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Nevada have introduced or enacted legislation aimed at how medical debts are collected.

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