Whether by disconnect or dishonesty, the gulf between claims of economic improvement from President Joe Biden and his surrogates fails to address one of progressives’ favored metrics, “lived experience,” as polling data shows far from rosy expectations across the country.
Between June 2-16, Gallup conducted a survey on behalf of the nonprofit group of organizations West Health to see how inflation was impacting financial decisions and more specifically, healthcare choices. After speaking with roughly 3,000 adults, the data found an estimated 98 million Americans were combating inflation at the cost of their own wellbeing.
At the time of the poll, while the consumer price index marked a 40-year high of 9.1 inflation, the burden of healthcare costs had also increased by 4.5 percent. To that end, consumers, especially those making less than $24,000 annually, listed medical care or filling prescriptions as something they’ve delayed or avoided to deal with rising expenses.
(Image: West Health)
Other measures taken to handle the added cost of living included driving less, regulating utility usage, borrowing money to pay bills and skipping even among the wealthiest households with incomes over $180,000 per year. However, close to two-thirds of those in the lowest income bracket had reported taking more than one of these measures to get by.
Timothy A. Lash, president of West Health, stated, “People have been making tradeoffs to pay for healthcare for years. Inflation has only made things worse as people are also now struggling with the high price of gas, food, and electricity.”
“However, unlike those expenses, Congress has the power right now to reduce healthcare prices, particularly for prescription drugs. Legislation is on the table,” he argued.
Meanwhile, Biden boasted of the most recent jobs report where 528,000 jobs were added to the economy in July contending of the supposed 9.5 million jobs added since his inauguration, “That’s millions more families with the dignity and peace of mind that a paycheck provides.”
We’ve now created 9.5 million jobs since taking office.
That’s millions more families with the dignity and peace of mind that a paycheck provides. pic.twitter.com/Z7B0c2KvDO
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 5, 2022
With 39 percent reportedly “concerned” or “extremely concerned” about paying for health care in the next six months, feelings of “dignity and peace of mind” are likely less common than the president would like to have voters believe heading into November.
Dan Witters, a senior researcher at Gallup, offered, “Inflation is hollowing out consumer spending habits across an array of areas. What is found just under the surface is that after gas and groceries, the role of inflation in reducing the pursuit of needed care is large and significant. And the rising cost of care itself, which is originating from an already elevated level, is having an outsized impact on lessening other forms of spending, compounding the problem.”
Whether it is indicative of the failings thus far under Biden or the belief from Americans that members of Congress are more interested in maintaining their seat of power than solving the problems of the voters, more than 90 percent reported being “not at all confident” or “not too confident” that the legislature would act to address the concern of healthcare costs regardless of party affiliation.
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