facebook COVID-19 cost concerns depend upon who you are

BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More

COVID-19 cost concerns depend upon who you are

Americans’ level of concern about the cost of care for COVID-19 varies widely between white and non-white adults, according to a new study from Gallup and West Health, an organization committed to lowering health care costs for seniors.

Of non-white adults surveyed, 58 percent reported being “extremely concerned” or “concerned” about being able to pay for care if they are diagnosed. Nearly half that number of white adults, 32 percent, reported the same level of worry.

Another area of divide was annual income. Households with incomes under $40,000 were three times more likely to report concern about the cost of care than respondents with incomes of $100,000 or more. These results, according to the study, underscored the relationship between socioeconomic status and race that resulted in clear differences in the level of concern.

Cost was not the only factor that showed a divide between white and non-white adults. Gallup found that 17 percent of non-white workers are staying in a job they want to leave because they are afraid of losing their benefits. Just 9 percent of white workers reported the same.

Worries about the cost of contracting COVID heighten concerns Americans generally have about health care. An early 2019 West Health Survey found that 19 percent of U.S. adults reported having medication insecurity, defined as lacking money to pay for at least one prescribed medicine in the past 12 months. A year later, in 2020, the number jumped to 24 percent.

What’s the answer?

Nearly nine in 10 adults think the federal government should negotiate the cost of a COVID-19 vaccine with drug manufacturers, according to the new survey.

Eighty-six percent of respondents believe there should be limits on the price of drugs that government-funded research helped develop. And 78 percent say political campaigns should not be allowed to accept donations from pharmaceutical companies during the coronavirus pandemic.

While there is racial disparity in concerns over COVID-19 treatment costs, significant majorities of both white and non-white Americans say pharmaceutical companies should be constrained.

Do you believe the federal government should take action on the rising cost of care and drug prices? Share your thoughts with Voices for Affordable Health.