- 73% of Republicans, 52% of Democrats satisfied with healthcare costs
- Little partisan division on these views prior to 2019
- Republicans more likely to rate their healthcare quality as excellent
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Republicans' and Democrats' levels of satisfaction with what they pay for their own healthcare have diverged in the past year. The 73% of Republicans who are satisfied with the total cost they pay for healthcare is up from 60% a year ago, and is the highest level of satisfaction for the group to date. Meanwhile, 52% of Democrats, down from 61%, are satisfied -- the lowest satisfaction for Democrats in Gallup's 19-year trend.
The latest results are based on Gallup's annual Health and Healthcare poll, conducted Nov. 1-14.
Before this year, there have been modest differences by party in satisfaction with personal healthcare costs, with Republicans usually more satisfied. The average satisfaction levels from 2001 through 2018 were 62% for Republicans and 59% for Democrats.
Healthcare has been a key issue in the 2020 election campaign, with Democratic presidential candidates sparring over single-payer healthcare plans like "Medicare for All" versus more modest expansions of the current system that would allow Americans to keep their current health plans.
The partisan shifts this year largely cancel each other out in the aggregate, with Americans' satisfaction at 61%, compared with 58% a year ago. Generally speaking, U.S. adults have shown consistent levels of satisfaction with what they pay for healthcare, ranging between 54% and 64% since Gallup first asked the question in 2001.
Partisan Gaps in Views of Other Healthcare Aspects Also Grow
Both major party groups are generally positive about their healthcare coverage and quality, but Republicans are more so.
Currently, 81% of Republicans, up from 76% a year ago, say their healthcare coverage is either excellent or good. Democrats' opinions about their coverage are largely unchanged -- 69%, compared with 71% last year, rate it positively.
Also, 86% of Republicans versus 78% of Democrats say the quality of their healthcare is excellent or good. The Democratic figure is down four percentage points from a year ago.
The partisan differences are even greater when isolating those who rate their coverage or quality as "excellent." Forty-three percent of Republicans, versus 23% of Democrats, give their coverage this highest rating. Likewise, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to rate the quality of the healthcare they receive as excellent (52% vs. 26%, respectively).
Americans overall have rated both aspects of their healthcare very positively over the past 19 years, with only modest variation.
The 71% who rate their coverage positively is one point below the trend's record high from 2011, but the percentage has dropped only as low as 63%. Ratings of healthcare quality have ranged from 76% to 83% since 2001.
Americans are largely satisfied with their healthcare quality, coverage and costs, but Republicans have become increasingly more satisfied than Democrats. Still, most Democrats are satisfied with their healthcare. And while the majority of Democrats support a government-run healthcare system, such a plan would likely result in Americans covered by private insurance plans being forced to give up the plans they currently have and enjoy.
Advocates of Medicare for All health plans argue that Americans' total costs -- including higher taxes but eliminating insurance premiums and out-of-pocket fees -- may be lower. Another potentially positive outcome is that Americans may enjoy some benefits on Medicare for All that their current plans do not offer. But taking away health plans that Americans are generally positive about stands as a major obstacle in getting the public to support a single-payer system.
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