According to a new study called ''The U.S. Healthcare Cost Crisis'', the Americans have borrowed $88 billion in the past year to cover their healthcare bills.
The West Health and Gallup poll surveyed 3,537 insured and uninsured adults over 18 living across the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in the period from January 14 to February 20 this year. As Tim Lash, West Health's chief strategy officer explained, the goal of the report was to examine how health costs affect Americans' finances, choices about care and opinions on the health care system.
The researchers found that 45 percent of the participants admitted that in case of ''a major health care event'' they would face bankruptcy. In addition to that, 41 percent of the respondents claimed they could not afford a visit to the emergency room because of the high costs. Moreover, a quarter of the participants had to cut back on other expenses to cover their medical bills.
Dan Witters, a senior researcher at Gallup pointed out that one in eight Americans borrowed money to pay health costs either for themselves or for a family member.
Gallup went further and based on more detailed questions among people; it estimated that 2.7 billion Americans borrowed at least $10,000 and another 1.6 million borrowed $5,000. At the same time, 76 percent of Americans said they paid too much for the quality of medical care they got.
Gallup did not limit the phone survey to questions about personal finances. They also asked people how they view the American health-care system's quality and whether Congress can effectively rein in medical prices.
Besides the questions about personal finances, Gallup was also interested in the view of the Americans on the quality of the healthcare system and their expectations for its future.
The results showed that 76 percent of the participants believed the healthcare costs would increase over the next two years. In their words, it would cause a ''lasting damage'' to the American economy.
On the other hand, according to 67 percent of self-identified Republicans, the United States had the best healthcare system in the world, compared with only 38 percent of Democrats. At the same time, 67 percent of the Democrats and 70 percent of the Republicans did not trust their representatives to solve the healthcare costs issues.
The official federal data shows that Americans spent $3.5 trillion on healthcare last year. The costs are expected to reach $5.6 trillion in 2026.
What is your opinion? Do you believe your elected officials will solve the health costs problems?