While some people avoided seeking medical care during the worst of the pandemic, worried about the risk of infection or unable to get an appointment because hospitals and doctors were overwhelmed, now many in the USA are finding that inflation and the uncertain economy have thrown up another barrier.
“We are starting to see some individuals who are putting off some care, especially preventive care, due to the costs,” said Dr. Tochi Iroku-Malize, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the chair of family medicine for Northwell Health in New York. Choosing between going to the doctor or paying for rent and food, “the health issue is no longer the priority,” she said.
With the prices of prescription drugs, hospital stays and other treatments expected to increase significantly this year and next, some doctors expect families to have an even harder time affording medical care.
When Margaret Bell, 71, found that her cancer had returned four years ago, she hesitated to resume her chemotherapy because she could not afford it, and higher prices have made it even harder. She would regularly skip appointments.
About one-fourth of respondents in a recent Gallup poll said they put off care last year for what they considered a “serious” condition.
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Source: New York Times, 16 February 2023
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