Report issued April 2019
The high cost of healthcare in the United States is a significant source of apprehension and fear for millions of Americans, according to a new national survey by West Health and Gallup.
Relative to the quality of the care they receive, Americans overwhelmingly agree they pay too much, and receive too little, and few have confidence that elected officials can solve the problem.
Americans in large numbers are borrowing money, skipping treatments and cutting back on household expenses because of high costs, and a large percentage fear a major health event could bankrupt them. More than three-quarters of Americans are also concerned that high healthcare costs could cause significant and lasting damage to the U.S. economy.
Despite the financial burden and fears caused by high healthcare costs, partisan filters lead to divergent views of the healthcare system at large: By a wide margin, more Republicans than Democrats consider the quality of care in the U.S. to be the best or among the best in the world — all while the U.S. significantly outspends other advanced economies on healthcare with dismal outcomes on basic health indicators such as infant mortality and heart attack mortality.
Republicans and Democrats are about as likely to resort to drastic measures, from deferring care to cutting back on other expenses including groceries, clothing, and gas and electricity. And many do not see the situation improving. In fact, most believe costs will only increase. When given the choice between a freeze in healthcare costs for the next five years or a 10% increase in household
income, 61% of Americans report that their preference is a freeze in costs.
West Health and Gallup’s major study included interviews with members of Gallup’s National Panel of Households and healthcare industry experts as well as a nationally representative survey of more than 3,537 randomly selected adults.
The report can be downloaded here.