Most adults in the United States view the country’s health care quality as unfavorable, according to a new survey. This is the first time in a 20-year Gallup polling trend that the share of adults who rated the nation’s health care quality as “excellent” or “good” has dropped below 50 percent. The share of adults who rated him as “poor” jumped over 20%, also for the first time.
Nearly half of adults said the system had “big problems.” Another in five adults said US health care is in a “state of crisis,” the largest share in about a decade.
Assessments of health care cost and coverage were low – less than a quarter of adults say they are satisfied with the cost of health care in the country and less than a third of adults view health coverage favorably – but such views remained relatively stable over the years.
Over the past two decades, there has been a “clear distinction between the high regard people had for the quality of care in the country versus the problems they saw in health care administration, including coverage and cost,” according to the Gallup report, which it released Thursday and is based on interviews collected in November.
But declining views on the quality of health care mark a noticeable shift in this balance.
Biased opinion explains part of this shift. Republican opinion of health care quality declined in 2014 after the Affordable Care Act was implemented and rebounded during Donald Trump’s presidency. But in recent years they have fallen sharply again, falling from 75% in favor in 2019 to 56% in the latest poll. Democrats typically view health care quality less favorably than Republicans, but their ratings have remained more consistent over the years.
In addition, satisfaction with health care remained high among older adults age 55 and older, but declined among younger and middle-aged adults. The authors of the Gallup report suggest that some of this decline may reflect views on abortion access and other changes that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, U.S. adults are far more likely to view their personal health care — including quality, coverage, and cost — more favorably than they do for the country as a whole. More than 70% of adults view the quality of their health care favorably, but as per general impressions of the system, satisfaction with personal health care has declined dramatically in recent years.
Only 56% of US adults are satisfied with the total cost they have to pay for health care, the lowest measured by Gallup since 2016.
However, another new report has found a more positive trend in healthcare costs.
The share of people living in households struggling to pay for medical bills has nearly halved over the past decade, from nearly 20 percent in 2011 to about 11 percent in 2021, according to data released Wednesday by the National Center for Health. Health statistics.
There was a notable decline of more than three percentage points from 2019 to 2021, meaning that 10.5 million fewer people were in households with problems paying for medical bills in 2021 compared to 2019.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on this change “cannot be discounted,” according to the report’s authors.
People were less likely to seek assistance in the early days of the pandemic, which could have limited the number of bills to pay. But policy provisions, such as those included in the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan, have provided financial assistance that could have helped mitigate the impact of medical debt.
However, medical debt continues to be a major source of overall debt, and critical disparities remain.
Black, Hispanic, and American Indian people who live in families are much more likely to have difficulty paying for medical bills. People who are covered by private insurance are less likely to have problems paying for medical bills, but outcomes were better for people living in Medicaid-expanding states than for those who didn’t expand the federal program.
Reducing the burden of healthcare costs could help improve the health of the general population, as people facing medical debt are more likely to miss out on treatment and prescription drugs.
“Despite the trend in decreasing proportion of people with problems paying for medical bills, the burden associated with unpaid medical bills remains a public health concern,” the authors of the NCHS report wrote.