Health care is still the top concern of Americans, but there is a disconnect between what we know about it and how we actually use it, according to a new study.
The survey, released Tuesday, finds that the US still lags behind most other developed countries when it comes to health outcomes, and that is particularly true when it came to access to healthcare.
It found that, on average, Americans pay the highest percentage of their income on healthcare and that health care access has been declining over the past few decades.
While the US has moved to more health-centered health care systems in the past decade, its healthcare systems still lag behind those in other countries, the study found.
The report found that only 33% of Americans use health insurance, the highest rate in the world.
“The US has been lagging behind other developed economies, particularly the UK and Germany, when it has to contend with rising inequality,” said co-author and physician at the National Institute of Health, Dr. Andrew Weil.
For example, Americans’ income is the highest in the developed world, with an average annual household income of $75,000, according the United Nations.
But the US also has the highest healthcare costs per capita, according a report from the RAND Corporation released last year.
Weil said that, while the US was one of the least unequal countries in the study, the US healthcare system still lagged behind those of other countries.
He said that the data on healthcare use in the US “seems to indicate that the system has a lot of gaps.”
The report also found that healthcare inequality is on the rise in the United States, with the average family earning more than $200,000 in 2018.
Yet the survey found that Americans pay a higher percentage of that income on health care than other developed nations.
More than three in 10 Americans are using health insurance for all of their family members, compared to one in five in the UK, the report found.
But Americans are also more likely to use medical assistance for lower-income families, as well as less likely to get care from family physicians, a problem that has led to higher rates of hospitalizations and healthcare costs, the survey noted.
When it comes down to the individual, a high proportion of Americans have no healthcare provider and that “is creating a lot more inequality in the health care system,” Weil said.
The authors also said that people in the most economically disadvantaged areas in the country are still being forced to use private insurance.
And, they found that the health insurance companies that are helping people buy private insurance are not adequately protecting people from cost overruns or quality issues, the researchers noted.
“When you’re making health care so expensive, it’s really hard to maintain the quality and predictability of the coverage that people have,” Weill said.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the American health insurance market is one of America’s largest.
In 2018, the country had a total of 9.5 million people insured by the health plans that are currently on the market, according data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
That is roughly 3.5 times the amount of people insured as the year before.
Despite rising costs, Americans are still reluctant to pay for healthcare, Weil noted.
“Americans have an aversion to paying for health care that is driven by the fear that they may have a catastrophic event, that they might lose their job, that their child may die,” Weiler said.
“And if that happens, you might be at risk of being sick and dying.”
“When it’s all said and done, it is really important to have healthcare that you can use when you need it and at the least, you don’t have to worry about that,” he added.
This story was produced by The News Hub, a news partner of The Associated Press.