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Gallup: Fewer than half of Americans believe U.S. healthcare is good enough

The findings of the 2022 annual Health and Healthcare survey mark the first time in its 20-year history that the healthcare system has failed to meet the expectations of most Americans, Gallup said Thursday about its new poll. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The findings of the 2022 annual Health and Healthcare survey mark the first time in its 20-year history that the healthcare system has failed to meet the expectations of most Americans, Gallup said Thursday about its new poll. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- A majority of Americans rate healthcare in the United States as substandard for the first time, according to a new Gallup poll released Thursday.

The results show 52% of those surveyed believe U.S. healthcare is subpar, with 31% saying it was "only fair" and 21% -- a new high -- rating it "poor." That compares to 48% who rated it ''excellent'' or ''good''.

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The findings of the 2022 annual Health and Healthcare survey mark the first time in its 20-year history that the healthcare system has failed to meet the expectations of most Americans, Gallup said in a news release.

Although the excellent/good score is only 2 percentage points lower than 2021, it fell well below the 62% high point twice recorded in the early 2010s. It also lags behind the average 55% reading since 2001.

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Gallup sought to explain the downward trend as a feature of the partisan divide among those surveyed, with Republicans' satisfaction levels falling year-on-year while Democrats' views have remained steady.

''Republicans' positive ratings have been subdued since President Donald Trump left office. Currently, 56% of Republicans rate healthcare quality as excellent or good, whereas 69% felt this way in 2020 and 75% in 2019,'' Gallup said.

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''Republicans' views of healthcare quality also dropped in 2014 after implementation of the Affordable Care Act before rebounding under Trump. Meanwhile, Democrats' positive ratings have been steady at a lower level (currently 44%).''

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The survey also unearthed an age divide, showing that public satisfaction with healthcare has trended downward among middle-age and younger adults while remaining high among those 55 and older.

Gallup says it is unclear whether the change across party lines is a result of rising healthcare costs for those not on Medicaid, perceived changes brought about by the ACA, or something else.

The more recent declines among young adults may reflect changes to healthcare since the COVID-19 pandemic or restricted access to abortion following the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision last year.

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This latest poll comes as U.S. healthcare garners growing criticism amid concerns it is becoming prohibitively costly and insurance coverage is, for a small but increasing number of Americans, failing to keep pace with rising costs

Earlier this week, another Gallup poll found that a record number of Americans postponed getting medical treatment in 2022 due to the high cost. In the survey, 38% reported that they or a family member had put off seeking medical care because of the high bills they would incur.

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Meanwhile, an American Medical Association study published last month found an increasing number of Americans struggle to afford medical care -- even if they have health insurance through their employer.

Researchers from New York University discovered that over the past two decades, the number of Americans with job-based health insurance who skimp on medical care has been on the rise. One possible explanation the study postulated was efforts by insurers to push a larger portion of the payment for treatment onto consumers.

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