Record High in U.S. Put Off Medical Care Due to Cost in 2022

Screenshot 2023 01 17 at 06 36 18They pretend like there are no tradeoffs in life. 

People have to make a decision between eating, paying rent, or going to the doctor. 

With record inflation levels, this puts pressure on where to cut costs. 

The not-so-subtle takeaway is that we need socialized medicine, as if inserting government further into the medical field will make things cheaper. 


  • 38% say they put off treatment, up 12 percentage points from 2021
  • 27% say medical treatment was for a very or somewhat serious condition
  • Lower-income, younger adults, women most likely to report delaying care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The percentage of Americans reporting they or a family member postponed medical treatment in 2022 due to cost rose 12 points in one year, to 38%, the highest in Gallup’s 22-year trend.

Each year since 2001, Gallup has tracked Americans’ self-reports of delaying medical care in the past 12 months due to cost. The latest reading, from Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare poll conducted Nov. 9-Dec. 2, is the highest by five points and marks the sharpest year-over-year increase to date.

This change came amid the highest inflation rate in the U.S. in more than 40 years, which made 2022 a challenging year for many Americans. A majority of U.S. adults have said inflation is creating at least a moderate hardship for them. The public continues to view the state of the U.S. economy negatively, and Americans were more likely to name inflation as the most important problem facing the U.S. in 2022 than at any time since 1984.

The latest double-digit increase in delaying medical treatment came on the heels of two consecutive 26% readings during the COVID-19 pandemic that were the lowest since 2004. The previous high point in the trend was 33% in 2014 and 2019. An average 29% of U.S. adults reported putting off medical treatment because of cost between 2001 and 2021.

Americans were more than twice as likely to report the delayed treatment in their family was for a serious rather than a nonserious condition in 2022. In all, 27% said the treatment was for a “very” or “somewhat” serious condition or illness, while 11% said it was “not very” or “not at all” serious. Since 2004, more U.S. adults have said the medical care needed was for a serious than nonserious condition, but the 16-point gap in the perceived seriousness of forgone treatment in 2022 is the second largest on record to a 17-point gap in 2019.

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