Over One In Three Americans Forgo Health Care Due To Costs

The cost of health care and access to health care still top many Americans’ list of the most urgent problem facing the nation, and rising costs continue to bite into the pocketbooks of both individuals and the government. Tackling that problem was one of the primary reasons behind the passage of Obamacare, both in terms of its cost controls and its subsidies to people buying care on the exchanges. And bringing the picture into further relief, a new Gallup poll released today found that over one in three Americans have put off medical treatment because of concerns with cost — the highest reported numbers in the last decade:

Thirty-two percent of Americans say they have had to put off medical care for themselves or their family in the past year due to the cost — the highest percentage since Gallup started tracking this annually in 2001. The percentage reporting they are putting treatment off is up significantly from the 19% found 12 years ago.

More than half of those with no health insurance say they have had to put off care (55%), as have 30% of those with private health insurance — while 21% of those who have Medicare or Medicaid say the same.

The strikingly low number of people on Medicaid or Medicare who report putting off health care due to costs is in line with an earlier survey by Gallup that found 76 percent of recipients on those programs are satisfied with the cost of their health care, versus just 57 percent of those on private insurance. It’s also consistent with a recent study by the Government Accountability Office, which found Medicaid recipients enjoy virtually identical access to necessary care as those on private insurance — despite concerns that Medicaid’s reimbursement rates to providers are far lower.