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Many Americans Give The Healthcare System A Failing Grade

9 months, 1 week ago

6167  0
Posted on Aug 15, 2023, 7 p.m.

It appears as if a lot of Americans (44%) think that the healthcare system leaves a lot to be desired and that it is failing them, according to a new West Health-Gallup poll. The report asked over 5,500 participants to provide letter grades for different aspects of healthcare similar to a school report card with the letter A representing excellent, B for good, C for satisfactory, D for poor, and F for failing. 

Overall, the results were largely negative, 30% of the participants gave poor grades and 14% gave failing grades; with the aspect receiving the most failing grades being affordability as three-quarters of the participants rated the aspect no higher than a D (41%) or F (33% rated it an F for affordability). Negative feelings regarding affordability were strikingly similar across age, race, gender, income, and political persuasion. 

Struggles due to the high cost are not only reflected in the grades but also in real-life consequences, as demonstrated by a significant number of participants reporting worsening health conditions due to not being able to pay for necessary care. Additionally, a substantial portion of the participants expressed serious concerns about being able to afford healthcare as they age. 27% reported that if they needed care today, they would not be able to afford it. 

“After years of higher prices, growing inequities, skipping treatments, getting sicker, or borrowing money to pay medical bills, it’s no wonder so many Americans view the health system so poorly,” says Timothy A. Lash, President of West Health. “This new report should send a strong message to policymakers that despite the healthcare provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, most of which will not take effect for some time, there is still immediate work to be done to lower healthcare prices.”

Across the board, high marks were very few, with the healthcare system obtaining an average grade of C minus. Certain groups of people were more critical of the healthcare system when it came to equity and access to care. Quality of care received a more positive response, but even in this area, there were still gender disparities in the ratings, earning this area an overall grade of C plus. 

66% of the participants believe that they pay too much for care relative to the care that they receive. Over half lack confidence in being able to afford healthcare as they age. 2 in 3 think that Medicare will disappear soon, and 3 in 4 say the same about Social Security. 6 in 10 said that cost is an extremely important factor when considering a medical procedure or medication, and 29% of those aged 50 to 64 are nearly twice as likely to say that cost is extremely important to 16% of those over the age of 65.

17% of the participants report that they have to cut back on healthcare services to pay for household needs, with women being 50% more likely to do so than men. 24% of Hispanic Americans reported sacrificing healthcare for household needs, 23% of Black Americans reported cutting back, and 15% of White Americans reported cutting back on healthcare services to pay for household needs. 

“While America’s grading of the U.S. healthcare system is troubling, it provides a roadmap for healthcare systems and policymakers to invest and fix areas with the greatest impact to shift sentiment,” said Dan Witters, Research Director for the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index. “What we must remember is that there are actual people behind these grades and that too many Americans are persistently struggling to access and afford quality healthcare.”

West Health-Gallup Poll Healthcare in America Report card 2022

Image: West Health-Gallup Healthcare in America Report Card Credit: 2022 Gallup

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.

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Image: West Health-Gallup Healthcare in America Report Card Credit: 2022 Gallup

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