The following is an excerpt from Gallup News.
Rising healthcare costs have compelled nearly four in 10 Americans in the past six months to delay or skip healthcare treatments, trim regular household expenses or borrow money.
That translates into an estimated 98 million adults having to take extraordinary steps to afford healthcare. These results are based on a new study by West Health and Gallup.
Economizing to afford healthcare is much more common among those in lower-income households. Over half of adults in households earning less than $48,000 per year report cutting some spending.
But even among those in households earning at least $180,000, 19% of respondents have pared back to pay for healthcare, highlighting the fact that the burden of high healthcare costs affects a broad socioeconomic portion of the population.
Women, particularly those younger than 50, are disproportionately being compelled to cut back on healthcare due to its rising costs.
One in Four Americans Have Skipped Treatment
Overall, 26% of adults report delaying or avoiding medical care or purchasing prescription drugs in the prior six months due to higher healthcare prices. This rises to 43% among adults in lower-income households (those making less than $24,000 annually).
The survey found that those who are cutting spending on non-healthcare-related expenses -- including food, gas and electricity -- are substantially more likely to be cutting spending on healthcare as well.
Inflation in General Is Curbing Consumer Spending
Increased prices nationwide have also affected consumer spending habits over the prior six months. Three-fifths of adults (59%) report driving less and 30% report cutting back on utilities because of the higher prices of goods in the U.S.
One in five (21%) report delaying or avoiding medical care or purchasing prescription drugs because of inflation in general -- a similar percentage to the cutback based on healthcare inflation.
Healthcare is not at the forefront of Americans' minds when asked which expenses they expect to rise most in the next six months.
Gas leads this list, chosen by 43%, followed by food (34%). Healthcare, in contrast, is picked by only 3% of respondents.
Little Confidence Exists in Federal and State Governments to Curtail Costs
Irrespective of race, gender, income or political identity, Americans hold little confidence in their elected representatives in Congress or in their own state government to slow rising costs.
Just 6% are "somewhat" or "very confident" in their congressional representatives, while 59% are "not at all confident" and another 35% are "not too confident."
When asked the same question in the context of their state government rather than members of Congress, Americans are only marginally less pessimistic, with 55% reporting that they are not at all confident and 11% saying they are very or somewhat confident that action to reduce costs will occur.
Read full Gallup polling results here.