How Americans feel about their health care

People start to gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

Jeff Horwich: It's a perfect morning for a little Attitude Check.  It's our weekly partnership with Gallup. Editor-in-chief Frank Newport is here as always. Happy Health Care Day, Frank.

Frank Newport: Well thank you very much. Good to be with you on this momentous morning.

Horwich: Putting the law aside, are Americans happy with their health care?

Newport: Well, everything is relative. Here's a number for you: 73 percent. That's the percent of Americans who say they are satisfied with the quality of health care they receive. Now we've put that in context; we've asked that exact same question in over 100 countries world wide, and we are 28th on the list. So, I think 73 percent's pretty good, but we're not at the top.

Horwich: Of major countries, who has the most loved health care system?

Newport: It's Luxembourg -- how's that? Ninety-three percent of Luxembourgians are satisfied. U.K., which is interesting, is right below that. Other European countries -- Austria, Germany, Belgium -- those are the types of countries that tend to be the most satisfied. You know, we say the U.K. and say, oh, that's because they have government run health insurance. But Canada, our country to the north, they're actually tied to the U.S. So we're very, very similar to Canada.

Horwich: Let's just say the reform law, or some crucial part of it, falls -- are Americans exhausted by this process? Or do you think there's going to be real demand for something else to replace it and fairly soon?

Newport: I do not see, in all the data I look at, that we're going to have a huge demand. One of the reasons is there's been relatively little impact on the health care so far; it's going to be rolled out in the years ahead. When we ask what's the most important problem facing the country -- a real key indicator -- it is the economy and it is jobs; health care is very low on the list right now. And as we talked about, Americans are generally satisfied with the health care they're receiving -- it's not a crisis, according to Americans. So I don't see a huge demand, a giant push -- quick, do something quickly -- if the Supreme Court strikes it down.

 

About the author

Frank Newport, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief at Gallup and appears regularly on Marketplace.

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