High Marks for Quality of Healthcare, Gallup Poll Finds

Analysis of Gallup's annual Health and Healthcare survey revealed that Americans remain satisfied with the quality of their healthcare. As might be expected, the percentage of people who viewed the quality of their care favorably was higher among certain demographic groups, such as the wealthy, those with health insurance, and the elderly, but in almost every grouping a majority believed that the healthcare they received was either "excellent" or "good". These results are consistent with previous years.

Overall, 40% of Americans rated their health care as excellent--above the previous high of 38% and the decade's 34% average. An additional 42% of Americans answered that their healthcare was good, meaning that 82% of Americans believed their healthcare to be either excellent or good; only 16% claimed their healthcare was only fair or poor.

Not all the survey's results were so uplifting: accompanying the increase over the decade in the percentage of Americans who believe their healthcare is excellent has been an increase in the percent who say that they or a family member has put off treatment in the past year because of cost. That percentage has gone from 19% in 2001 to a high of 30% in 2006, where it remains today. An all-time high 21% of Americans this November said they or a family member has put off treatment for a serious condition in the past year because of cost.

Despite worries about the high number of uninsured Americans--according to Gallup 16% of all American adults--Gallup concluded that Americans' favorable evaluations show there are some positives to the current healthcare system, though they may be diminished if health care costs continue to price people out of obtaining care.

Nick Haas (nihaas@umich.edu)

SSDAN Office

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