The high cost of healthcare has a lot of Americans making difficult choices, and many are choosing to cut back on driving, eating, and keeping their lights on to cover their medical debts, according to the results of a nationwide poll. Nearly 100 million Americans — 38% of all adults — have either delayed or skipped a medical treatment, or chosen to cut back on driving, utilities, and food, or borrowed money to pay medical bills in the past six months.
As can be expected, the lower the amount of income in a household, the more trade-offs and sacrifices that were being made. More than half of households earning less than $48,000 a year made spending cuts, according to the poll. But nobody was immune, regardless of how much money is being made. Nearly 20% of households making more than $180,000 a year were forced to cut back, with most choosing to delay or avoid medical care or purchasing prescription drugs.
While the present is looking pretty bleak, the future unfortunately is not looking any brighter. About 40% of those who participated in the survey said they were “extremely concerned” or “concerned” about being able to pay for healthcare in the next six months.
Nearly 60% of consumers admit to driving less, and 30% have cut back on utilities because of higher healthcare bills.
“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,” said Timothy A. Lash, President, West Health, in a statement. “However, unlike those expenses, Congress has the power right now to reduce healthcare prices, particularly for prescription drugs. Legislation is on the table.”