The headline: “Over half of Americans delay or don’t get health care because they can’t afford it”

The headline: “Over half of Americans delay or don’t get health care because they can’t afford it”

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The rest of the story is a little different: Waiting to Feel Better: Survey Reveals Cost Delays Timely Care | Earnin

  • 55% postpone dental visits
  • 43% postpone vision checkups
  • 30% postpone annual exams

The Harris Poll/Earnin data showed the most commonly delayed types of medical care resulting from a lack of money are dental or orthodontic work (55 percent), eye care (43 percent), and annual exams (30 percent).

In other words, over half postpone what appear to be preventative check ups, typically done when there are no symptoms (e.g. pain, bleeding, etc).

The distinction is that in many health care visits, a patient is experiencing something wrong and visits a provider to hopefully find a solution.

In a preventative check up, a patient goes to a provider and asks the provider to find something wrong with them.

This is a critical distinction. The survey found that over half of Americans postpone what appear to be preventative checkups but the survey did not measure if consumers postpone check ups because they had no symptoms – which is a critical piece of data to interpret their findings.

Even the underlying press release writes “Waiting to Feel Better” and adds “Survey reveals cost delays timely care” – but they provide no supporting data to make those claims.

An accurate headline would say over half of Americans postpone preventative checkups – probably because they had no symptoms.

At a high level this looks like propaganda messaging to persuade the target that over half of Americans are not getting required care for active health care problems. The method used is by appealing to authority (a survey), and cherry picking the results by neglecting to note the distinction between preventative checkups and visits to health care providers for existing health care problems.

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