News Release

Economic Conditions Pushing Americans to Delay Health Care Treatment


Gallup has found that 38 percent of Americans postponed medical treatment in 2022, compared with 26 percent in 2021. Americans were more than twice as likely to delay medical treatment for a serious condition compared to a non-serious one.

    Kahn is a professor of health policy at the University of California at San Francisco and an editor and blogger at Health Justice Monitor.

Lower-income adults, younger adults and women delayed care for a serious medical condition more consistently than other populations, and people living in a home with an annual household income under $40,000 were nearly twice as likely to delay care for a serious condition compared to someone with a household income of $100,000 or more. 

Compared with 2021, care delays were up 12 percent among low-income adults, 11 points among middle-income adults, and 7 points for higher-income adults. The percentages represented the highest increases in one year––including for middle and higher income adults––since Gallup began conducting the poll 22 years ago.

Kahn called the results “horrendous.” In Health Justice Monitor, Kahn pointed to research that shows that “financial barriers have clinical consequences.” For instance, one recent study found that at least 17 percent of adults are rationing insulin due to high prices of the drug. Other researchers have found that increases in out-of-pocket costs for seniors reduces prescribed drug use and increases mortality.