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A record-high share of Americans say they are putting off medical treatment because the costs are just too high. A new Gallup survey shows that nearly 4 in 10 Americans reported that they or a family member skipped care in 2022 because of the cost, the highest percentage ever recorded in the 22-year-old annual survey.

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What the research says

Since 2001, Gallup has asked Americans: “Within the last 12 months, have you or a member of your family put off any sort of medical treatment because of the cost you would have to pay?”

  • In 2022, 38% of Americans reported that, yes, they or a family member put off treatment due to the price tag — the highest number on record at Gallup and, notably, a 12 percentage point increase from 2021.
  • What’s more, of those who said they put off treatment, 27% percent said the postponed treatment was for a “somewhat” or “very serious” condition — yet another record high for Gallup’s survey.

While the trend is more prevalent among low-income earners (who make less than $40,000), people of all income levels postponed treatment for “somewhat” or “very” serious conditions in 2022 at a much higher rate than recent years.

  • 34% of low-income earners (less than $40,000) delayed getting treatment last year for a serious condition.
  • 29% of people earning between $40,000 and $100,000 said they put off treating their serious condition.
  • 18% of Americans making over $100,000 said the same.
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It’s no wonder

In 2022, prices for just about everything from eggs to cars soared amid the nastiest bout of inflation the country has seen in four decades. Record-high inflation squeezed budgets and forced many Americans to focus on necessities like food and shelter while forgoing other expenses. As Gallup’s research suggests, medical care was chief among them.

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