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Republican Satisfaction With U.S. Healthcare Costs Surges

Republican Satisfaction With U.S. Healthcare Costs Surges

Story Highlights

  • 43% of Republicans are satisfied with U.S. healthcare costs, up from 26%
  • 9% of Democrats say the same, down from 13% last year
  • Overall, 26% of Americans are satisfied with U.S. healthcare costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Republicans' satisfaction with the costs of healthcare in the U.S. has jumped 17 percentage points in 2019, rising to 43%, up from 26% in 2018. At the same time, independents' and Democrats' levels of satisfaction show less change, at 25% and 9%, respectively.

Line graph. Americans’ satisfaction with U.S. healthcare costs by political affiliation.

A similar partisan-based pattern in Americans' satisfaction with their own healthcare costs was previously reported.

These results come from Gallup's annual Health and Healthcare poll, conducted Nov. 1-14. Democrats are in the midst of their presidential nomination campaign, during which healthcare has been a major focus, with most candidates proposing a publicly sponsored health plan option if not a single-payer system. Republicans recently released a new plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, which they have unsuccessfully tried to repeal in recent years.

One of the key purposes of the ACA, also known as "Obamacare," was to control healthcare costs in the U.S. After President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010, 31% of Republicans and 19% of Democrats were satisfied with the costs of healthcare in the U.S. Six years later, at the end of Obama's second term in 2016, Democrats had become more satisfied with healthcare costs (28%) while Republican satisfaction had sunk to an all-time low (11%).

However, since then -- coincident with Donald Trump taking office -- partisan satisfaction has again flipped. In November 2017, Republican satisfaction with healthcare costs had risen to 23%. At the same time, Democrats' satisfaction with these costs had fallen modestly to 24%. Over the next two years, Republicans' satisfaction continued to rise while Democrats' continued to fall, producing the largest partisan gap in ratings to date -- 34 points in 2019.

One in Four Americans Satisfied With Healthcare Costs

The surge in satisfaction with U.S. healthcare costs among Republicans has been largely responsible for an uptick in satisfaction among all Americans. Twenty-six percent of U.S. adults now say they are satisfied with these costs, up from 20% last year and the highest level since 2009.

Line graph. Americans’ satisfaction with U.S. healthcare costs have generally hovered at or near 20% since 2001.

Americans have consistently registered low levels of satisfaction with healthcare costs in the U.S. No more than 28% of Americans have been satisfied with these costs since 2001, with satisfaction generally hovering near 22%.

Bottom Line

This year, Republicans are substantially more satisfied with healthcare costs, both for themselves and the country more broadly, while Democrats are slightly less satisfied. It is possible that this partisan-based divergence may be a response to the rhetoric from both parties. Republicans have again begun beating the drum for a repeal of Obamacare and have announced a plan to replace the law, while Democratic presidential candidates have talked extensively about "Medicare for All," despite a continued majority of Americans favoring a private health system for the country.

Republicans have clearly staked out their position ahead of the 2020 presidential election, with their new plan to replace the ACA. What plan Democrats propose is still dependent on which candidate clinches the party's nomination -- but it likely will involve a defense of the ACA and greater government involvement in the country's healthcare system, which Democrats favor by a wide margin.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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