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Americans' Satisfaction With Healthcare System Edges Down

Americans' Satisfaction With Healthcare System Edges Down
by Zac Auter

Story Highlights

  • 65% of Americans satisfied with healthcare system, down from 67% in 2014
  • Americans with government health plans most satisfied
  • Republicans much less satisfied than Democrats

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sixty-five percent of Americans are satisfied with the way the healthcare system works for them, down slightly from 67% in 2014. Americans with Medicare, Medicaid and military or veterans' insurance continue to express the most satisfaction, at or near 75%, while uninsured Americans report the lowest (40%).

Satisfaction With the U.S. Healthcare System, by Insurance Type
2014 2015 2016 YTD* Difference between 2014 and 2016
% % % pct. pts.
Overall satisfaction 67 66 65 -2
Medicare 77 76 75 -2
Military or veterans' 78 77 75 -3
Medicaid 75 74 73 -2
Union 74 71 71 -3
Current or former employer 69 68 66 -3
Plan fully paid for by you or family member 66 64 62 -4
Uninsured 39 40 40 +1
Gallup, *2016 data are from Jan. 2-Aug. 31, 2016

Since 2014, personal satisfaction with the way the healthcare system works is down among all insured groups, including a four-percentage-point drop, from 66% to 62%, among adults who pay for their own insurance, and three-point drops among those covered by an employer, union, or military or veterans' insurance. Even though satisfaction has declined, Americans whose healthcare is subsidized by the government have consistently expressed the highest satisfaction.

Republicans Least Likely to Be Satisfied With Healthcare System

Republicans (58%) and independents (62%) are less satisfied than Democrats (75%) with the way the healthcare system works for them. While Democrats' satisfaction has been stable between 2014 and 2016, Republicans' satisfaction has declined four points. These differences could be, at least in part, a result of Republicans' more negative views of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Only 9% of Republicans approve of the ACA, compared with 78% of Democrats.

healthcare_graph

Among other key demographic groups, satisfaction with the healthcare system displays little variation. Low-, middle- and high-income Americans show similar satisfaction. About seven in 10 blacks, Hispanics and Asians say they are satisfied with the way the healthcare system works for them, while whites express the least satisfaction (63%). Americans aged 65 and older are more satisfied than their younger counterparts, which comports with Americans' high level of satisfaction with Medicare -- the government's health insurance program for older Americans.

Satisfaction With the U.S. Healthcare System, by Key Demographic Groups
% Satisfied
Annual income
Less than $36,000 64
$36,000-$89,999 63
$90,000 or more 67
Age
18-29 67
30-49 59
50-64 61
65+ 77
Race
White 63
Black 72
Hispanic 69
Asian 70
Gallup, 2016 data are from Jan 2.-Aug. 31

Bottom Line

Americans' satisfaction with the healthcare system has declined slightly since 2014, even as the percentage of Americans without health insurance has reached its lowest point in the more than eight years that Gallup and Healthways have tracked it. Americans' concern about the quality of healthcare could be contributing to somewhat-decreased satisfaction, as the number of Americans who described their healthcare coverage as "excellent" has fallen in recent years. Additionally, since the ACA was implemented in 2014, Americans have cited cost and access to healthcare as urgent problems facing the country.

Americans' slightly reduced satisfaction with how the U.S. healthcare system is working for them comes during a presidential election campaign in which the ACA has been hotly debated. While Hillary Clinton supports the ACA signed into law by President Barack Obama, Donald Trump advocates repealing it. The politicization of the ACA has, in part, colored Americans' satisfaction with the U.S. healthcare system more broadly, as both parties continue to debate the fundamental nature of the country's healthcare system and the government's role in it.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 2-Aug. 31, 2016, as part of Gallup Daily tracking, with a random sample of 119,931 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

Gallup


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