By Arsenio Toledo
Rising healthcare costs caused by President Joe Biden’s inability to get inflation under control is forcing more Americans to cut back on what they spend on healthcare.
A new survey conducted by Gallup found that about 38 percent of Americans – which translates to an estimated 98 million people – said rising healthcare prices have caused them to skip treatments, delay buying prescription drugs or pay for their care by borrowing money or cutting back on cash meant for fuel, utilities or food in the past six months. (Report: Around 50% of older Americans CAN’T AFFORD necessary expenses.)
The nationwide poll was conducted online with 3,001 adults from June 2 to 16. This is the same month inflation in America reached a 40-year high of 9.1 percent, with healthcare costs going up by around 4.5 percent. It was commissioned by West Health, a group of nonprofit organizations that lobby to bring down healthcare costs, especially for older people.
“We’ve known for decades that healthcare has been a financial pain for people, and that people have had to make tradeoffs,” said Timothy Lash, president of West Health.
“When you layer inflation on top of that, it’s like putting gasoline on a fire.
Lunna Lopes, a senior survey analyst for public opinion and survey research for the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), noted that the West Health-Gallup survey aligns with an earlier investigation performed by KFF.
“We asked earlier this year if they or another family member had not gotten a test or treatment that was recommended by a doctor because of cost,” said Lopes. “We found about a third of adults say that was the case in the past 12 months. And likewise, four in 10 adults say that they’ve put off or postponed getting healthcare they needed because of the cost.”
Millions of Americans are forced to spend more on healthcare due to inflation
According to the West Health-Gallup survey, 26 percent of Americans or about 86 million people have put off purchasing prescription medication or receiving other kinds of medical care due to higher prices.
About 17 percent of Americans or 56 million people drove less, 10 percent or 33 million cut back utilities spending or consumption and seven percent or 23 million skipped meals to cover medical costs. Furthermore, about six percent of Americans or nearly 20 million people have had to borrow money to afford their care or pay their medical bills.
The survey also found that inflation has influenced the healthcare choices of all Americans, even those with high incomes.
More than half of American households earning less than $48,000 a year have had to curb spending due to higher healthcare costs. But nearly 20 percent of households with more than $180,000 of income a year have also been forced to cut back on healthcare spending.
“There’s only so many dollars that people have to spend,” commented Lopes. “When they look at where to cut or potentially reduce spending, that’s when you see people making these decisions of maybe not getting the healthcare that they need, because that’s an additional expense that they’ll have to budget into their monthly finances.”
Lash, meanwhile, noted that increasing healthcare costs is affecting people of all political stripes. He’s hoping that this could make it more likely for policymakers to do something about it.
“[Healthcare inflation] crosses party lines, with Republicans being more worried than Democrats,” said Lash. The poll found that 44 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of Democrats and 42 percent of independents were concerned about their ability to cover needed healthcare costs over the next six months.
“In this sort of environment heading into the midterm elections, there’s legislation right now on the table in Congress to lower the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to directly negotiate with pharmaceutical companies,” said Lash. “That would have a very significant impact over a six-year period on the cost of prescription drugs. With voters energized on this issue, my hope is that it puts pressure on our elected officials.”
Watch this episode of the “Health Ranger Report” as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, talks about Biden’s new inflation “reduction” bill which will unleash tax terrorism upon Americans.