Poll Finds Americans Say Health Care Costs Their Most Pressing Financial Problem

May 31, 2019 by Dan McCue

Americans are more likely to name healthcare costs than any other issue when asked to say what is the most important financial problem facing their family, a recent Gallup poll found.

In a survey conducted April 17-30, 17 percent of respondents named health care costs as their family’s greatest financial concern, followed by lack of money/low wages (11 percent) and college expenses, the cost of owning a home and taxes, which tied at 8 percent.

In 2018, lack of money/low wages topped the  list of concerns at 13 percent, followed by health care costs (12 percent) and too much debt/lack of money to pay bills, at 11 percent.

The latest Gallup survey comes at a time of general economic confidence, when relatively few Americans name economic matters as the most important problem facing the country.

Consistent with this sunny financial outlook, 20% of Americans said that they do not have a “most important financial problem.”

That is one of the highest percentages responding “none” in Gallup’s 14-year trend on the question, surpassed only by the 21% who said so in a February 2005 poll.

Gallup has asked the “most important family financial problem” question on 48 separate occasions since 2005.

During that time, only three issues — healthcare costs, energy costs/oil and gas prices and lack of money/low wages — have topped the list in any single poll.

Healthcare costs typically vied with energy costs as the top problem before the Great Recession, largely dependent on the price of gasoline.

This included a record-high 29% mentioning gas prices in July 2008, when gasoline prices averaged over $4 per gallon nationwide.

But in the ensuing periods of high unemployment and a sluggish economic recovery between 2009 and 2014, lack of money or low wages was most often the No. 1 personal financial problem.

Healthcare costs have ranked first in two of the past three surveys, and have been at least tied for first in each poll since 2014.

Mentions of energy costs have dwindled in recent years as gas prices have been lower, and in the current survey, no respondent cited energy costs as the most important financial problem.

Healthcare is the most commonly mentioned financial challenge for key subgroups and is especially likely to be named by older Americans. Twenty-five percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 64, and 23% of those aged 65 and older, say healthcare costs are the biggest problem for their family’s finances.

Healthcare ties for first among adults younger than 50, who are about as likely to name lack of money, college expenses and housing costs as their greatest financial challenges. The youngest adults — those under age 30 — also commonly mention debt and the high cost of living.

Retirement savings are a greater concern for those in the pre-retirement years (aged 50 to 64), but something few young adults or senior citizens view as a problem.

Americans at different income levels are about equally likely to name healthcare as the most important financial problem, with between 17% and 19% in each income group doing so. Lack of money is, not surprisingly, a much greater concern for lower-income Americans.

Upper- and middle-income Americans are more inclined to cite college expenses, taxes and retirement savings as their chief financial challenges.

Opinion Polls

New Poll Finds Biden Widening Lead Over Other Dems in Florida 2020 Elections
New Poll Finds Biden Widening Lead Over Other Dems in Florida
January 15, 2020
by Dan McCue

Former Vice President Joe Biden has widened his lead to 26 points among Florida voters in the race to be the Democratic party's nominee for president in 2020, a new Florida Atlantic University poll shows. The statewide survey was conducted by FAU’s Business and Economics Polling... Read More

Gallup Says Six Issues Are Top of Voters' Minds Opinion Polls
Gallup Says Six Issues Are Top of Voters' Minds
January 15, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - When presented with a list of 16 issues, at least 30% of adults rated five as being "extremely important" to determining how they will vote in 2020, the Gallup organization said Tuesday. The issues were healthcare, national security, gun policy, education and the economy.... Read More

Voters Remain Deeply Concerned about Fiscal Irresponsibility in Washington Federal Budget
Voters Remain Deeply Concerned about Fiscal Irresponsibility in Washington
January 7, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Voters remain deeply concerned about Washington's wanton ways when it comes to spending and want leaders to take corrective action, a new survey by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation finds. The survey was conducted in December, just as Congress and the White House were... Read More

Poll: Biden Holds 20-Point Lead in Texas Democratic Primary Race Opinion Polls
Poll: Biden Holds 20-Point Lead in Texas Democratic Primary Race

AUSTIN, Texas — Former Vice President Joe Biden has opened up a commanding 20-point lead in the Texas Democratic primary, according to a CNN poll released Wednesday. Among likely Democratic primary voters, 35% say they support Biden, compared to 15% for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of... Read More

Impeachment Hearings Haven’t Changed Many Minds, Polls Show Opinion Polls
Impeachment Hearings Haven’t Changed Many Minds, Polls Show

WASHINGTON — Two weeks of public hearings have done little to change Americans’ minds about whether Congress should impeach President Donald Trump over his dealings with Ukraine — the nation remains sharply divided, much as it has been since Trump’s election. That’s the finding of three... Read More

Polls Show Impeachment Hearings Having Minimal Impact on Public Sentiment Opinion Polls
Polls Show Impeachment Hearings Having Minimal Impact on Public Sentiment

WASHINGTON — Two polls released Tuesday show the House’s impeachment hearings are having minimal impact on public sentiment, with one conducted over the weekend revealing opposition to impeachment growing among independents. A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted Nov. 15 to 17 after the first week of public... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top