Americans’ confidence in the U.S. health system hit a low in July 2010, prompting people to say they’re more likely to delay or cancel visits to doctors, and to cancel necessary lab tests and medical procedures for the next three months. The composite consumer sentiment score of 95 is the lowest since Thomson Reuters launched the Index in December 2009, setting the Index at 100.

Thomson Reuters Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index is out for July 2010, the 8th month in which Thomson Reuters calculated this Index based on a monthly survey of 3,000 U.S. adults drawn from the company’s PULSE Healthcare Survey panel covering health behaviors, attitudes and utilization from over 100,000 U.S. households.

Underneath this composite number are several separate indices measuring consumer health sentiment: a retrospective look at health care, a prospective looking at the next several months, and a healthcare services composite, which aggregates consumers’ encounters/utilization with the health system: visits, tests, surgeries, and therapies.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Thomson Reuters confirms here what the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Employee Benefits Research Institute have known for over two years since the recession kicked in: that Americans’ health utilization and health behaviors are responding to their economic circumstances. And that’s not always working toward the healthiest outcomes possible. Most Americans are doing some sort of personal health rationing due to cost.