Rising healthcare costs caused by soaring inflation are forcing Americans to cut back on other areas of their lives – with 98 million people estimated to be either delaying or skipping treatment, reducing driving, cutting back on utilities and food, or borrowing money to pay medical bills.
A new Gallup survey of 3,000 people, commissioned by West Health – a group of non-profits which lobby to bring down healthcare costs – found that the high inflation was causing widespread belt-tightening.
The impact of 9.1 percent inflation – a 40-year high – was felt most acutely by those earning the least. But high earners were also reporting reassessing their budgets.
The Labor Department’s consumer price index skyrocketed 9.1 percent in June from a year earlier, a pace not seen since 1981.
The price of gasoline has jumped 61 percent over the past year, airfares 34 percent, eggs 33 percent.
Inflation has been rising so fast that despite the pay raises many workers have received, most consumers are falling behind the rising cost-of-living.
In June, average hourly earnings slid 3.6 percent from a year earlier adjusting for inflation, the 15th straight monthly drop from a year earlier.
Those surveyed said their biggest shift had been in medical care, with 26 percent of all respondents saying they had delayed or avoided medical care or purchasing prescription drugs over the last six months.