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Ratings of U.S. Healthcare Quality No Better After ACA

Ratings of U.S. Healthcare Quality No Better After ACA

by Rebecca Riffkin

Story Highlights

  • 53% of Americans rate healthcare quality in U.S. positively
  • One in three rate U.S. healthcare coverage positively
  • Fewer than one in four satisfied with cost of healthcare

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Fifty-three percent of Americans rate the quality of healthcare in the U.S. as "excellent" or "good." This is similar to what Gallup has found since 2013, but is down from the more positive ratings of 2008 to 2012.

Trend: Americans' Ratings of Healthcare Quality in U.S.

From 2005 to 2007, a slim majority of Americans rated the quality of healthcare in the U.S. as excellent or good. But this percentage increased slightly in 2008 after President Barack Obama was elected, reaching a high of 62% in November 2010 and again in 2012 just after he was elected to his second term. Those higher ratings could reflect optimism about Obama's promises to reform healthcare and the passage of the Affordable Care Act. However, since November 2013, shortly after the ACA insurance exchanges first opened, no more than 54% of Americans have rated the quality of healthcare in the U.S. as excellent or good.

Excellent/Good Ratings of Aspects of U.S. Healthcare

Americans rate U.S. healthcare coverage far less positively than they do healthcare quality. The percentage of Americans rating U.S. healthcare coverage as excellent or good increased from 26% in 2008 to 38% in 2009. Since then, the percentage who view healthcare coverage in the U.S. positively has varied slightly from year to year, but remains higher than before Obama took office.

Trend: Ratings of Healthcare Coverage in U.S. Generally Stable Since 2009

Fewer Than One in Four Satisfied With U.S. Healthcare Costs

Americans' satisfaction with the total cost of healthcare in the U.S. remains low, with 21% saying they are satisfied. Twenty-eight percent were satisfied in 2001, but satisfaction fell after that, rising again only in 2009, to 26%. This increase too may reflect optimism about the possibilities of Obama's healthcare reform. However, satisfaction has since slipped.

Fewer Than One In Four Satisfied With the Cost of Healthcare in the U.S.

Bottom Line

Although Americans were more positive about the cost, quality and coverage of U.S. healthcare in the early years of the Obama's first term, that optimism has faded to some degree. Americans' ratings of healthcare coverage are not high, but remain higher than they were in George W. Bush's second term. This may have something to do with the ACA, especially as the U.S. uninsured percentage has dropped since the ACA exchanges opened. The ACA may not have had such obviously positive effects on cost and quality, which Americans generally regard as no better than before Obama took office.

At the same time, Americans continue to rate their personal healthcare positively overall, although again without much improvement since the recent healthcare reform took effect. Americans are more negative about the healthcare system in the U.S. in general as opposed to their own healthcare. A similar phenomenon is found when Americans rate personal or local conditions compared with national conditions in areas such as education, government and crime.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 4-8, 2015, with a random sample of 1,021 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 ±4 percentage points 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.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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