Americans’ Anxiety Over High Health-Care Costs Continues to Grow

There is significant anxiety among Americans about the high costs of health care, according to a recent joint survey by Gallup and West Health.

The survey results indicated that Americans borrowed $88 billion in 2018 to pay for health care, and that one in four have skipped treatment due to concerns about cost. Nearly half of respondents – and even one-third of those in households earning more than $180,000 annually – worried that a health emergency could cause personal bankruptcy.

“Our data shows an American public that’s beaten down from this really serious issue,” Dan Witters, a senior researcher at Gallup, told The New York Times.

Sixty-seven percent of Republican respondents said they believe the American health-care system is one of the best in the world, while only 38 percent of Democrats agreed. Still, more than half of respondents said they believe Americans pay too much for health care and get too little in return.

Tim Lash, West Health’s chief strategy officer, noted that the U.S. spends much more on health care than other wealthy countries, yet obtains worse outcomes in life expectancy and infant mortality.

The results are based on phone interviews in English and Spanish with a random sample of 3,500 U.S. adults in early 2019.

Source: The New York Times, April 2, 2019.