Americans took out an estimated $88 billion in loans over the last 12 months for health care, a new poll finds, and an estimated 65 million American adults put off medical treatment in the last year because of costs.
The poll, from Gallup, puts into sharp relief how big of a problem health-care costs are for many Americans. It also justifies President Donald Trump's apparent instinct to make health care a political talking point. Last week, Trump suggested on Twitter that he wanted his party to take on replacing the Affordable Care Act right away, but then later said Republicans would deal with the act after the 2020 election.
In the first two years of Trump's presidency, Congress was not able to agree on a replacement for Obamacare. Republicans worried the issue would not help them in their re-election campaigns, Politico reports.
The Gallup poll suggests worries about health costs cut across partisan lines. Americans of all stripes—77 percent of them—worried health care would cause "significant and lasting damage" to the economy. And the proportion of Americans who reported having to do things like put off treatment, borrow money, or cut back on other spending in order to afford health care didn't differ significantly among party members.
The one characteristic that did differ significantly between the parties was people's perception of the quality of health care in the United States. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans said they thought America's quality of care was the best or among the best in the world, while only 38 percent of Democrats thought so. Among 36 developed nations, the U.S. ranks No. 28 for life expectancy and No. 31 for infant mortality. It's No. 1 for health-care costs per person.