How many Americans are happy with the healthcare system?

Healthcare system

Apparently, more than one would think. A June survey by Gallup found that two thirds (66%) of Americans are happy with how the healthcare system works for them. The research company started keeping track of healthcare satisfaction since the middle of March as a means of assessing how the Affordable Care Act -ACA or Obamacare, whichever you prefer- changes have impacted Americans. The takeaway is that while healthcare does not seem to be in crisis, at least from the point of view of the satisfied majority, there is still room for improvement. After all, 30% of unhappy people still equal over 70 million individuals.

Satisfaction has been in the mid-60% range since Gallup had been asking the question “are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the how the healthcare system is working for you?” on a nightly basis starting on March 21. The poll included the approximately 13.4% of Americans who are currently uninsured. Surprisingly, a third of them are actually happy with the state of healthcare. Conversely, not all insured people are crazy about how the system works. Healthcare status does not necessarily determine satisfaction; in fact, other factors such as political stance also influence opinion.    

Overall

Satisfied

Not satisfied

N/A

National adults

·         w/insurance

·         w/o insurance

66%

32%

2%

71%

28%

1%

36%

60%

4%

Healthcare status

Satisfied

Not satisfied

N/A

Employer/union plan

70%

29%

1%

Medicare/Medicaid

76%

23%

1%

Military/veterans

77%

21%

2%

Plan paid by self

66%

33%

2%

Other

70%

27%

3%

Political leaning

Satisfied

Not satisfied

N/A

Republican

64%

35%

2%

Democrat

80%

19%

1%

 

Additionally, more Americans aged 65 and older are happy with the healthcare system (79%) than those between the ages of 18-49 (61%-66%). This higher level of satisfaction among seniors is a reflection of the fact that they have Medicare coverage. However, and as mentioned above, simply having insurance is not enough to make people happy. As such, the American healthcare system needs to be improved in such a way that not only everyone is covered -universal coverage is one of the goals of the ACA- but also that as many people as possible is satisfied with it. That would involve making it more accessible for people who don’t have it, and also convincing those who are happy without it to get it.

In good theory Obamacare was going to accomplish that by reducing costs through a number of measures. Nevertheless, America’s remains the most expensive, least effective healthcare system among wealthy nations, according to the Commonwealth Fund. Other failings include lack of universal health insurance coverage, poor healthcare outcomes, and disparity in equity of care between high-income and low-income patients.

Related Read: 

U.S. healthcare ranks dead last among wealthy countries