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Most Americans Still Rate Their Healthcare Quite Positively

Most Americans Still Rate Their Healthcare Quite Positively

Story Highlights

  • Majorities rate quality (80%) and coverage (69%) as excellent or good
  • Americans rate coverage and quality in the U.S. in general less positively
  • Majority satisfied with cost of their personal healthcare

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the incoming Congress prepares to debate further changes to the U.S. healthcare system, solid majorities of Americans rate the coverage (69%) and quality (80%) of the healthcare they personally receive as "excellent" or "good." By contrast, Americans are much less positive about healthcare in the U.S. in general, with a bare majority rating the quality of U.S. healthcare positively (55%) and about a third giving positive reviews to U.S. healthcare coverage (34%).

Americans' Ratings of Coverage and Quality of Personal vs. National Healthcare
Personal healthcare National healthcare Difference
% Excellent/Good % Excellent/Good (pct. pts.)
Healthcare coverage 69 34 +35
Quality of healthcare 80 55 +25
Gallup, Nov. 1-11, 2018

Gallup's latest update of its annual Healthcare poll, conducted Nov. 1-11, shows a continuation of the stability in Americans' views of their personal healthcare's quality and coverage since the start of the millennium -- including after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The current ratings match or nearly match the averages Gallup has recorded since 2001.

At least three in four Americans have consistently rated the quality of their healthcare positively, ranging from 76% to 83%, over the past 18 years. Smaller majorities have described their coverage as excellent or good since 2001, ranging from 63% to 72%.

Line graph. Americans’ ratings of the quality and coverage of their healthcare from 2001 through 2018.

Seniors, Medicaid/Medicare Recipients Rate Coverage, Quality Most Positively

Most U.S. subgroups rate the quality of the healthcare they receive better than they rate their coverage -- though ratings of both are highest among U.S. adults aged 65 and older. With most adults in this group qualifying for Medicare, nearly nine in 10 senior citizens rate both their care and coverage positively.

Positive ratings of both quality and coverage increase with age: Young adults have the lowest average ratings for both measures, and seniors offer the highest ratings. Perceptions are also related to income: The higher the income bracket, the more likely an individual is to rate their healthcare quality and coverage positively. Meanwhile, whites maintain higher ratings than nonwhites on each element of healthcare.

Among insured Americans, those with private insurance plans have more positive views of their healthcare quality but less positive views of their coverage than Medicaid and Medicare recipients.

While holding differing views about the best approach to U.S. healthcare, Democrats and Republicans have relatively similar views about the quality of their own healthcare, but Republicans rate their coverage slightly better than Democrats do. Meanwhile, independents -- who tend to be younger, offer less-positive reviews of both aspects of the healthcare system.

Ratings of Healthcare Quality and Coverage, by Group
The quality of healthcare you receive Your healthcare coverage
% Excellent/Good % Excellent/Good
National adults 80 69
Medicaid/Medicare 79 79
Private insurance 85 70
18-29 74 57
30-49 78 65
50-64 80 69
65+ 88 88
White 84 74
Nonwhite 72 58
Less than $30,000 60 56
$30,000-$74,999 83 68
$75,000 or more 86 73
Republican 85 76
Independent 75 62
Democrat 82 71
Gallup, Nov. 1-11, 2018

Americans More Satisfied With Personal Than National Healthcare Costs

Since 2001, at least slim majorities of Americans have reported satisfaction with the cost they pay for their personal healthcare, ranging from 54% to 64%. The latest reading, 58%, matches the average over that time.

Americans are less likely to report satisfaction with the total cost of healthcare in the U.S. -- the current 20% nearly matches the 21% average over the same time period. While Americans are more likely to be satisfied than dissatisfied with their own costs, they tend to see the overall U.S. healthcare system as overly expensive for others.

Line graph. Americans’ ratings of the cost of their personal and national healthcare from 2001 through 2018.

Though adults with private insurance give the highest reviews on quality among insured groups, those who receive Medicaid and Medicare (70%) are much more likely to be satisfied than the privately insured (51%) with the cost they pay.

Satisfaction with healthcare cost varies less among other groups, though adults 65 and older (68%) report the most widespread satisfaction.

Satisfaction With Personal Healthcare Costs, by Group
Are you generally satisfied or dissatisfied with the total cost you pay for your healthcare?
Medicaid/Medicare 70
Private insurance 51
18-29 58
30-49 50
50-64 59
65+ 68
White 56
Nonwhite 62
Less than $30,000 62
$30,000-$74,999 56
$75,000 or more 55
Republican 60
Independent 52
Democrat 61
Gallup, Nov. 1-11, 2018

Bottom Line

Americans are generally satisfied with their own healthcare but see the cost, coverage and quality of U.S. healthcare more generally as a problem for others. Not all Americans see government involvement in healthcare as the solution, and while the Affordable Care Act had the goal of addressing the larger issues -- allowing people to keep the plans they like while expanding access -- Americans are split in their views of the law enacted by President Barack Obama.

U.S. adults' views of their personal costs, coverage and quality have remained stable over nearly two decades, despite the ACA's passage, suggesting that the 2010 law may have fixed issues among those in dire need of healthcare rather than serving as a wholesale change to the system.

View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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