Americans Say Health Care System Failed Them In AP-NORC Poll
When Emmanuel Obeng-Dankwa is worried about making rent on his New York City apartment, he sometimes holds off on filling his blood pressure medication.
Photo Insert: The poll reveals that public satisfaction with the US health care system is remarkably low, with fewer than half of Americans saying it is generally handled well.
“If there’s no money, I prefer to skip the medication to being homeless,” said Obeng-Dankwa, a 58-year-old security guard. He is among a majority of adults in the U.S. who say that health care is not handled well in the country, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, Amada Seitz and Hannah Fingerhut reported for the Associated Press (AP).
The poll reveals that public satisfaction with the US health care system is remarkably low, with fewer than half of Americans saying it is generally handled well. Only 12% say it is handled extremely or very well. Americans have similar views about health care for older adults.
In fact, the poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans, nearly 8 in 10, say they are at least moderately concerned about getting access to quality health care when they need it.
Black and Hispanic adults in particular are resoundingly worried about health care access, with nearly 6 in 10 saying they are very or extremely concerned about getting good care. Fewer than half of white adults, 44%, expressed the same level of worry.
Racial disparities have long troubled America’s health care system. They have been abundantly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Black and Hispanic people dying disproportionately from the virus. Black and Hispanic men also make up a disproportionately high rate of recent monkeypox infections.
Fifty-three percent of women said they are extremely or very concerned about obtaining quality care, compared to 42% of men. While Americans are united in their dissatisfaction with the health care system, that agreement dissolves when it comes to solutions to fix it.
About two-thirds of adults think it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, with adults ages 18 to 49 more likely than those over 50 to hold that view.
The percentage of people who believe health care coverage is a government responsibility has risen in recent years, ticking up from 57% in 2019 and 62% in 2017.
Eighty percent say they support the federal government negotiating for lower drug prices. President Joe Biden this summer signed a landmark bill into law allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. The move is expected to save taxpayers as much as $100 billion over the next decade.
“Medication costs should be low, to the minimum so that everyone can afford it,” said Obeng-Dankwa, the Bronx renter who has trouble paying for his medication.
“Those who are poor should be able to get all the necessary health they need, in the same way someone who also has the money to pay for it.”
The poll of 1,505 adults was conducted July 28-Aug. 1 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.