More and more people in the United States are becoming acutely aware that life-saving health care is not accessible to everyone, including their own family members and close friends.
A 2019 survey conducted by Gallup and West Health underscored that point, finding that nearly 13 percent of Americans, or 34 million people, report knowing at least one person who died within the past five years because he or she was unable to pay for medical treatment or prescription drugs. People of color, younger people and individuals with low incomes were far more likely to have known some who died under such circumstances.
By the numbers:
- Non-white respondents (20.3%) were more than twice as likely as white respondents (9.6%) to know someone who had died through lack of affordable medical care.
- From January to September 2019, the number of households experiencing the inability to pay for prescription drugs jumped significantly, from 18.9 percent to 22.9 percent, the poll found. This means that medication insecurity affects approximately 58 million Americans.
- In 2018, the U.S. uninsured rate rose for the first time in a decade, increasing from 7.9% (25.6 million people) in 2017 to 8.5% (27.5 million people) in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.