Americans Rate Personal Health Care Quality High in Gallup Survey

But only 19% are satisfied with nationwide costs

Americans are more likely to be positive about the cost, coverage, and quality of their own health care than they are about the same aspects of health care nationwide, according to a new Gallup poll. For both their own health care and health care nationally, they are most positive about quality and least positive about cost, with coverage falling in the middle.

The current patterns––that Americans are more positive about their own health care than about health care nationally, rate quality better than coverage, and rate coverage better than cost––have been consistent in Gallup’s polling since 2001. Currently, the personal versus national gaps in positive ratings are smallest in terms of quality (21%) and largest on cost (37%).

Since 2001, Americans have been positive about the quality of the health care they personally receive, according to Gallup. This year, 76% rated the quality of their health care as “excellent” or “good,” just a bit lower than the peak of 83% in 2007 and 2008. However, fewer Americans––although still a majority––were positive about health care quality in the United States. In 2016, 55% said they were satisfied, down from a high of 62% in 2010 and 2012.

Sixty-five percent of Americans rated their own health care coverage as “excellent” or “good.” This personal satisfaction has been roughly constant during the past 15 years, including after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was enacted in 2010 and the health care exchanges first opened in 2014, Gallup noted.

While 65% of Americans rate their personal health care coverage positively, about half as many say health care coverage nationwide is excellent or good.

Americans’ ratings of health care coverage nationally have improved modestly from the past decade, Gallup says. In 2005, 21% rated U.S. health care coverage “excellent” or “good,” and this rose to 26% in 2008. In 2009, before the PPACA became law but before it was fully implemented in 2014, ratings of health care coverage in the U.S. spiked, reaching 39% in 2010 and 41% in 2012 before dipping back down over the past several years.

Americans are less satisfied with the cost of their health care than with their health care quality or coverage. This year, 56% said they were satisfied with the total cost they pay for health care, a figure that has been relatively stable during the past 15 years. It is down from a high point of 64% in 2001 and from 62% in 2009, the year before the PPACA was signed into law. In 2006, 54% of Americans said they were satisfied with their health care costs, the low point in Gallup’s trend.

While a majority of Americans said they were satisfied with their health care costs, few (19%) were satisfied with health care costs nationally. Satisfaction with nationwide costs rose to 26% in 2009, President Obama’s first year in office, but that uptick was not sustained. The 19% of respondents who were satisfied this year was within two points of the lowest that Gallup has measured.

The survey results were based on telephone interviews conducted on November 9–13, 2016, with a random sample of 1,019 adults (18 years of age and older) in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Source: Gallup; December 9, 2016.