Americans' Satisfaction With Healthcare System Edges Down

Americans' Satisfaction With Healthcare System Edges Down

Americans' Satisfaction With Healthcare System Edges Down

The FINANCIAL -- Sixty-five percent of Americans are satisfied with the way the healthcare system works for them, down slightly from 67% in 2014. Americans with Medicare, Medicaid and military or veterans' insurance continue to express the most satisfaction, at or near 75%, while uninsured Americans report the lowest (40%).

Since 2014, personal satisfaction with the way the healthcare system works is down among all insured groups, including a four-percentage-point drop, from 66% to 62%, among adults who pay for their own insurance, and three-point drops among those covered by an employer, union, or military or veterans' insurance. Even though satisfaction has declined, Americans whose healthcare is subsidized by the government have consistently expressed the highest satisfaction.

Republicans Least Likely to Be Satisfied With Healthcare System

Republicans (58%) and independents (62%) are less satisfied than Democrats (75%) with the way the healthcare system works for them. While Democrats' satisfaction has been stable between 2014 and 2016, Republicans' satisfaction has declined four points. These differences could be, at least in part, a result of Republicans' more negative views of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Only 9% of Republicans approve of the ACA, compared with 78% of Democrats.

Among other key demographic groups, satisfaction with the healthcare system displays little variation. Low-, middle- and high-income Americans show similar satisfaction. About seven in 10 blacks, Hispanics and Asians say they are satisfied with the way the healthcare system works for them, while whites express the least satisfaction (63%). Americans aged 65 and older are more satisfied than their younger counterparts, which comports with Americans' high level of satisfaction with Medicare -- the government's health insurance program for older Americans.

Bottom Line

Americans' satisfaction with the healthcare system has declined slightly since 2014, even as the percentage of Americans without health insurance has reached its lowest point in the more than eight years that Gallup and Healthways have tracked it. Americans' concern about the quality of healthcare could be contributing to somewhat-decreased satisfaction, as the number of Americans who described their healthcare coverage as "excellent" has fallen in recent years. Additionally, since the ACA was implemented in 2014, Americans have cited cost and access to healthcare as urgent problems facing the country.

Americans' slightly reduced satisfaction with how the U.S. healthcare system is working for them comes during a presidential election campaign in which the ACA has been hotly debated. While Hillary Clinton supports the ACA signed into law by President Barack Obama, Donald Trump advocates repealing it. The politicization of the ACA has, in part, colored Americans' satisfaction with the U.S. healthcare system more broadly, as both parties continue to debate the fundamental nature of the country's healthcare system and the government's role in it.