The effects of financial destruction are very serious and long term. Americans in the past were not per se accustomed to this save for persons in very poor areas, but such has become more commonplace amid the overall economic decline by way of unemployment, underemployment, inflation, stagnation, a general decline of the society as a whole.
Years ago, I knew a person well who went through a serious period of financial hardship with his wife and two kids. The stories that I would hear were just harrowing, and you could see the stress in his face. In this person’s case, to make a long story short, he was completely fine overall, had multiple advanced degrees, and had one criminal incident on it that was later taken off but happened as a result of a horrible accident. He could not get a job even after dozens of applications, and eventually had to settle for a low-paying job where he could not pay his bills and his decisions were to figure out each time he got his check which bills he could afford NOT to pay, and considering all of them were essential, there was never an easy answer.
He eventually moved and was able to get a better job and straighten out his situation, but many things were very hard. He was in decent health, but one of his biggest problems was getting to work because he could barely afford repairs on his car, and if something did happen, he would have to fix it and often times with less-than-stellar patches until he could clear out enough debt to pay for the repair, which would cause other debts to be incurred by way of his other bills.
I cannot imagine what it would have been like if he had a serious medical problem, as since he did not have insurance, there is a strong chance that he would have had to live with whatever problem it was. Thankfully, that never appears to have happened with him.
However, many people today are not so fortunate. Once hidden, this is becoming apparent as recent statistics are bearing out the consequences of these changes.
A record 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup’s trend. Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.
Gallup first asked this question in 1991, at which time 22% reported that they or a family member delayed care for any kind of condition, including 11% for a serious condition. The figures were similar in the next update in 2001, and Gallup has since asked this question annually as part of its Health and Healthcare poll. This year’s survey was conducted Nov. 1-14.
Americans’ reports of family members delaying any sort of medical treatment for cost reasons were lower in the early to mid-2000s when closer to a quarter reported the problem. Since 2006, the rate has averaged 30%.
The pattern is similar for the subset of Americans postponing medical treatment for a serious condition. The rate rose from 12% in 2001 to an average of 19% since 2006. However, the current 25% is the highest yet, exceeding the prior high-point of 22% recorded in 2014.
Reports of delaying treatment for a serious condition jumped 13 percentage points in the past year to 36% among adults in households earning less than $40,000 per year while it was essentially flat (up a non statistically significant three points) among those in middle-income and higher-income households.
As a result of the spike in lower-income households this year, the gap between the top and bottom income groups for failure to seek treatment for a serious medical condition widened to 23 percentage points in 2019. The income gap had averaged 17 points in the early years of Barack Obama’s presidency, but narrowed to an average 11 points in the first few years after implementation of the ACA, from 2015 to 2018. (source)
When one looks at poor nations, which is most of the world except for the US, Western Europe, and Japan save for select enclaves in other nations (Moscow v. the rest of Russia, China v. the countryside, New Dehli v. most of India, etc.), one sees that serious poverty and “cripples” are everywhere. Many of these people are not in their situation just because they are bad or dumb, but because of many reasons become poor and then cannot afford treatments, which are expensive.
Getting sick is very expensive, especially when modern medicine is concerned and one needs to work more hours just to attempt to “make ends meet.” As employers in the West have become significantly more demanding, there is even a work trend not to take sick days because of the possibility that one could be fired immediately or that taking such days, while allowed by law, may result in “bad marks” from an employer that will be used to justify firing or laying a person off later but without ever telling him this was the actual reason. The situation today is more like that of a slave environment, where the “slaves” are expected to work harder and get less, and not care for their own health, but somehow manage not to get sick, and then be happy about doing this.
It has already been noted that a trend for the future will be shortened lives for Millennials and possibly Zoomers, and this is one of the reasons. If one cannot take care of oneself, one will eventually die because the body will just stop working. This is not just for office workers, but for all types in the US because of the eugenic philosophy that profits come before people, and people can and should be abused and removed as much as possible if it interferes with profits or increases profits. This is but a continuation of the trend back towards eugenics, but taken through the lens of economics.
If eugenics is not a concern, than the simple cost of medical expenses is prohibitive for most people, for without insurance, a simple accident can put a man into bankruptcy. It is already known that fully two-thirds of all bankruptcies are caused by medical issues, with or without insurance. Cost IS an issue because if insurance does not pay, or even if it does pay, one needs to have sufficient finances to surmount the hurdles created by the medical system in its current form.
There are many Americans who, as a result, have taken to traveling to Central and South America, or the Caribbean for treatment, because the same procedures in the same quality hospitals can be done at sometimes one-tenth of the cost or less.
It is from this, therefore, that we can expect to derive two trends. First, that “medical tourism” will become more popular for those with money because treatment in the US is prohibitively- and possibly “eugenically” speaking -far too expensive and risky in the sense of economics. Second, it is that one should expect to see more people like those in the rest of the world, suffering publicly from serious illnesses or problems, because they cannot afford the treatments that used to be more accessible.
For those who are paying attention to the changes, one may want to start planning ahead for older age and one’s family, as protecting one’s health and preparing for the event of a health-related crisis will be instrumental in the difference between possibly going into bankruptcy or saving oneself and one’s financial resources from bankruptcy.