Americans Borrowed $88 Billion to Pay for Health Care Last Year: Survey
Health Care

Americans Borrowed $88 Billion to Pay for Health Care Last Year: Survey


Americans Borrowed $88 Billion to Pay for Health Care Last Year: Survey

A new report from Gallup and the nonprofit West Health on “The U.S. Healthcare Cost Crisis” includes some sobering numbers about the financial burdens created by the current system — and about Americans’ fears about the broader economic hit that could result from spiraling costs.

“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,” Gallup says.

  • More than three in four Americans believe they pay too much for care relative to the quality of care they get.

  • Most Americans (64 percent) say they are “completely” or “mostly” satisfied with their own health care experiences, but that figure drops to 39 percent when they consider how the system serves Americans in general.

  • Americans borrowed an estimated $88 billion to pay for health care in the past year. Gallup estimates that 2.7 million Americans borrowed at least $10,000 and another 1.6 million borrowed more than $5,000.

  • Americans pulled an estimated $126 billion from savings to pay for health care in the past year.

  • Sixty-five million adults did not seek treatment for a health issue in the past year, and 15 million have deferred buying prescription drugs, because of the costs.

  • Forty-five percent of Americans, including a third of those earning more than $180,000 a year, are concerned that a major health issue could bankrupt them.

  • Given a choice between freezing health care costs for the next five years or a 10 percent boost to their household income, 61 percent said they prefer the freeze in costs.

  • Three in four Americans expect their health care costs to keep rising over the next two years.

  • Seventy-seven percent believe the government isn’t doing enough to keep prescription drugs affordable, while 74 percent say the same about health care costs in general.

  • Seventy-seven percent say they are concerned that health care costs will result do lasting damage to the U.S. economy.

  • About 70 percent of Americans say they have no confidence in their elected officials to bring down health care costs via consensus legislation.

The survey of more than 3,500 U.S. adults was conducted January 14 to February 20.

A separate Gallup survey released Monday found that health care tops the list of American’s worries for the fifth straight year, followed by federal spending and the budget deficit.