1 in 4 people with chronic conditions (25%) are delaying care. The percent of people delaying care is even higher for Baby Boomer women (39%) and Latinos (43%).

Delaying care crosses all income groups; 22% of people with household incomes of at least $50,000 also delay care.

In “Re-Forming Health Care: Americans Speak Out about Chronic Conditions and the Pursuit of Healthier Lives,” the National Council on Aging highlights a survey of 1,000 people over 44 years of age with chronic conditions and reveals the tough challenge they face in managing their care.

At the extreme, patients feel a sense of isolation and abandonment. Such a feeling can exacerbate illness and foil people’s ability to engage with health providers and healthy behaviors.

In the U.S., two-thirds of people 44 and over have two or more chronic conditions, such as heart disease, arthritis, hypertension, and diabetes. 1 in 5 have 4 or more chronic conditions.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Clearly, people across all socioeconomic strata are frustrated with navigating the U.S. health system. Cost plays a part in delaying care, but so does the labyrinthine, complicated and fragmented “system.” As JD Kleinke titled his landmark book on the subject, the phrase ‘health system’ is an Oxymoron, a myth of what people have to deal with. It’s the opposite of a ‘system.’

If you look up the antonym for “system” in your Microsoft Word thesaurus, you will find its opposites as “chaos,” “muddle,” and “disorder.”

That’s what people with chronic conditions face when trying to manage multiple morbidities in America.

Since chronic disease accounts for 75% of America’s $2 trillion spent on health care, addressing the challenges cited by the NCOA will go a huge way to managing the largest long-term fiscal challenge facing the U.S. economy.

The solutions will involve a multi-pronged strategy of public policy, financial incentives and provider alignment, and personal coaching of health citizens.

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