Rising health care costs due to rising inflation are forcing Americans to cut back in other areas of their lives — an estimated 98 million people delay or skip treatment, reduce driving, cut utilities and food, or borrow money to pay medical bills.
A new Gallup poll of 3,000 people, commissioned by West Health — a group of nonprofits lobbying to lower health care costs — found that high inflation tightened the widespread belt.
The impact of inflation of 9.1 percent – the highest point in 40 years – was felt most strongly by those who earned the least. But high earners also reported reassessing their budgets.
The Department of Labor’s consumer price index rose 9.1 percent in June from a year earlier, a pace not seen since 1981.
The price of gasoline has risen 61 percent in the past year, airline tickets by 34 percent and eggs by 33 percent.
Inflation has risen so fast that despite the wage increases many workers have received, most consumers are lagging behind the rising cost of living.
In June, average hourly wages fell 3.6 percent year-on-year, adjusted for inflation, the 15th consecutive monthly decline from a year earlier.
Those surveyed said their biggest shift in medical care had occurred, with 26 percent of all respondents saying they had delayed or avoided medical care or bought prescription drugs in the past six months.
All respondents to a survey commissioned by West Health said rising inflation had prompted them to rethink their spending on health care and medical treatment.
US inflation rose to 9.1% in June, the highest since 1981
Of the respondents who earn the least — less than $24,000 a year — 41 percent said they had reduced their spending on medical care. Even the richest cut spending: 11 percent of those earning more than $180,000 a year said they, too, had cut their health care spending.
Everyone agreed that driving was the second largest area for economizing.
More than a third of the lowest earners, 36 percent, indicated that they would drive less. Eight percent of the highest earners said they have less time on the road.
Utilities were the third cut, with 10 percent of respondents across the board saying they had tried to cut back.
Skipping a meal was an alarmingly high solution for some: One in five (21 percent) of those earning less than $24,000 a year said they were cutting back on food. Only 2 percent of the richest said the same.
A woman in California – where fuel prices are highest – fills her car. More than a third of the lowest earners, 36 percent, indicated that they would drive less. Eight percent of the highest earners said they had less time on the road
The wealthiest were also, unsurprisingly, the least likely to borrow money: Just 1 percent said they had resorted to loans, credit cards and other forms of borrowing, 19 times less than those earning less than $24,000 a year.
“For years, people have been making compromises to pay for health care,” said Timothy A. Lash, president of the research and lobbying group.
“Inflation has only made things worse as people are now also struggling with the high price of gas, food and electricity.
However, unlike that spending, Congress now has the power to lower health care prices, especially for prescription drugs. Legislation is on the table.’
The study also found differences between women and men.
Women under the age of 50 were more likely to cut back on medical care and medications than their male counterparts, with 36 percent of women and 27 percent of men discounting.
DailyMail.com researched the prices of everyday items and calculated how much they would cost if inflation had stayed at the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target — not the runaway increases we’ve seen over the past year — to find out. how many extra consumers are currently paying
Rising health care costs were a concern for all Americans: 39 percent say they are “extremely concerned” or “concerned” that they won’t be able to pay for health care in the next six months, including 33 percent of Democrats, 44 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Americans. the independents.
“Inflation erodes consumer spending in many areas,” said Dan Witters, senior researcher at Gallup.
What is found just below the surface is that after gas and groceries, the role of inflation in reducing the pursuit of needed care is large and significant.
“And the rising health care costs themselves, stemming from an already elevated level, are having an inordinate impact on reducing other forms of expenditure, exacerbating the problem.”