Poll: Skipping Doctor’s Visits Because They Cost Too Much

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Here are some of the latest numbers that indicate our health care system is sick and in need of immediate attention: A new poll shows that one-quarter of American households had trouble paying for health care costs in the past year, and that, to avoid incurring expenses, 40 percent plan on delaying treatment and routine doctor’s visits in the coming months.

For quite some time, insurers and doctors have of course been pressing how important it is to be proactive when it comes to health care. Encouraging people to have regular routine checkups is not only the way to keep people healthy, but to keep overall health care costs down. The idea is that illnesses that otherwise would have gone undetected are discovered during checkups. They can then be treated right away, before the illness gets worse—and more costly to treat.

If people are delaying those routine checkups—or skipping them altogether—this seems like a disaster waiting to happen. No wonder two new polls show widespread support for big changes to the health care system. Read here and here. The former, from the Times, shows that most Americans are willing to pay for government-run health care even if it means their taxes will go up.