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Record percentage of Americans putting off serious medical treatment due to cost: Gallup

Record percentage of Americans putting off serious medical treatment due to cost: Gallup
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A record percentage of Americans said they are putting off treatment for serious medical conditions, according to a Gallup poll released Monday. 

Gallup found that 25 percent of Americans said they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year, which is higher than Gallup has ever reported since asking the question for the first time in 2001. 

The number of Americans putting off serious treatment increased 6 points from 2018, when 19 percent said they or a family member had put off such treatment, according to Gallup. The second closest year was 2014, when Gallup found 22 percent of Americans said the same. 

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An additional 8 percent of Americans said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition in 2019, bringing the total to 33 percent, which is a 4 point increase from 2018, according to Gallup. 

The 33 percent figure is tied with 2014, when Gallup found the same number of Americans said they or a family member put off medical treatment. 

The number of Americans putting off treatment overall has increased 14 points since 19 percent of Americans said so in 2001, according to Gallup. 

The biggest spike in Americans reporting delaying treatment for a serious condition this year was among households earning less than $40,000 per year. Thirty-six percent of adults in the low income bracket put off such treatment, a 13 point increase from 2018.

Gallup found a 23 percentage point income gap in Americans delaying treatment in 2019. 

The income gap averaged 17 points in the early years of the Obama administration, but narrowed to an average of 11 points from 2015 to 2018 after the first few years of the Affordable Care Act implementation, according to Gallup.

Gallup also found that Americans that identify as Democrats are more likely to report family members are delaying treatment for serious conditions. This is up 12 points since 2018 among Democrats, compared with 3 and 5 point increases among Republicans and independents, respectively. 

The survey was conducted from Nov. 1 to 14. There is a random sample of 1,015 adults. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.