Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A new report shows that Americans under the current healthcare system are delaying care.

A new report shows that Americans under the current healthcare system are delaying care. (Photo: Jim Watson/Getty Images)

Setting Gallup Record, Quarter of Americans Say They or Family Member Delayed Medical Care Over Cost in Last Year

"This is the 'choice based' system Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg want to preserve."

Eoin Higgins

One-in-four Americans admits they or a member of their family this past year has delayed medical treatment of a serious illness due to costs, according to a new Gallup survey published Monday.

The number is the highest ever recorded by Gallup on the question. 

"Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014," the report said.

Delayed care can have serious ramifications on health, well being—and even the economy, according to the report. 

And it could be a political issue lurking in the background of the 2020 general election:

While most of the increase Gallup sees in delayed treatment occurred over a decade ago, the sharp increase in the past year, particularly among Democrats, suggests that healthcare costs could be a more potent political issue than previously seen. Presidential candidates who acknowledge the problem and propose solutions to address it may find a receptive ear among voters.

The report highlights the dire condition of the U.S. healthcare system at a time when Democratic candidates for the party's 2020 presidential nomination are debating whether or not to institute Medicare for All, the policy advocated for by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the frontrunners in the party's primary.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden have resisted a universal system—a position that The District Sentinel's Sam Knight noted on Twitter in response to the new Gallup data.

"This is the 'choice based' system Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg want to preserve," said Knight. 

Knight added that claims from centrist Democrats that all that's needed is to build on the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," are empty. 

"When people say we need to fix Obamacare instead of gunning for single payer, please note that Obamacare did nothing to stop people from delaying treatment for cost based reasons," said Knight. "It did force you to pay monthly premiums to for-profit companies denying you care though!"

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Supreme Court Denies Trump Bid to Conceal Records From Jan. 6 Panel

One government watchdog group welcomed the decision as "a huge win for transparency."

Jessica Corbett ·

Jayapal, Lee Resolution Promotes More Peaceful US Foreign Policy

"It's far past time we take our foreign policy into the 21st century," said Rep. Barbara Lee. "We should be leading with diplomacy and human needs as the path to global security."

Brett Wilkins ·

Anti-War Veterans Group Issues Its Own 'Nuclear Posture Review'

Released ahead of a Biden administration report, the assessment warns that the danger of nuclear war is greater than ever.

Jessica Corbett ·

Critics Warn Puerto Rico Debt Plan Will Lead to More Austerity

"The island's ability to resume growth and avoid cuts in anti-poverty programs are both chief concerns," said one economic justice advocate.

Julia Conley ·

Faith Leaders, Rights Groups to Biden: End Immigration Detention

"People are losing their lives to a detention system that simply does not need to exist," said one immigrant rights advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo