“Don’t wait until it’s too late.” That’s the motto of preventive medicine that, for one-third of Americans, is not an option.
In the last year, 30 percent of American adults say that they or a family member put off medical treatment because of the cost, according to a Gallup Poll out Monday. Nearly 60 percent of uninsured people delayed getting checked out, more than double the amount of people with private health insurance (25 percent) and those with Medicare or Medicaid (22 percent).
Such procrastination is not new. Similar numbers of Americans have been putting off calling the doctor to avoid expensive treatment or out-of-pocket costs since 2005. But the continuing trend has serious implications.
In the last decade, polls have shown that Americans are more likely to delay seeking medical treatment for a serious condition than for one that’s not, and they’ve done so more each year. Treating diabetes costs more than treating a nasty scrape or bruise.
But scrapes and bruises are not long-term threats to Americans’ health and the country’s health care system. When medical issues go untreated, they can get worse, costing both patients and the entire industry much more when people finally seek medical attention. A concern that could have been addressed by a primary-care physician graduates to a worse problem treated by a usually more expensive specialist. Eventually, it can become a lifelong condition costing thousands a year in prescriptions and premiums.
For Americans, however, the threat of chronic illness is no longer the biggest problem in health care. Cost replaced access as the top concern last month, then followed by obesity and cancer.
Delaying treatment for fear of high costs could, if the Affordable Care Act works as intended, be remedied for some Americans. Then again, a surge in Americans seeking medical treatment could strain the health care system, leading to longer wait times for appointments and less face time with doctors.
In this poll, Gallup surveyed by telephone 1,039 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, between Nov. 7 and Nov. 10. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
What We're Following See More »
"Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the possibility of a ballistic missile strike from North Korea. The state's Emergency Management Agency on Friday announced a public education campaign about what to do. Hawaii lawmakers have been urging emergency management officials to update Cold War-era plans for coping with a nuclear attack as North Korea develops nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that can reach the islands."
"President Obama’s White House quietly produced a plan in October to counter a possible Election Day cyber attack that included extraordinary measures like sending armed federal law enforcement agents to polling places, mobilizing components of the military and launching counter-propaganda efforts. The 15-page plan, a copy of which was obtained by TIME, stipulates that “in almost all potential cases of malicious cyber activity impacting election infrastructure, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments” would have primary jurisdiction to respond."
"In internal conversations, Trump has recently pondered the idea of nominating Giuliani, a stalwart of his campaign. Even before last week's blast at Sessions in a New York Times interview, Trump had expressed fury at Sessions...for recusing himself from the Russia investigation."
"Donald Trump Jr.'s legal team is expanding its operation, bringing on D.C.-based attorney and longtime regulatory lawyer Karina Lynch, his team told ABC News. Lynch also confirmed to ABC News that she is joining the team. Donald Trump Jr. is one of the people connected to the Trump administration whom the Senate Judiciary Committee has said it wants to interview as part of its investigation into possible Russian involvement in the 2016 election."
"Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner in a statement released early Monday denied colluding with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. 'I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,' Kushner, who is also President Trump's son-in-law, said in prepared remarks to congressional investigators probing Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 'I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector.' Kushner is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed hearing on Monday."