HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Satisfaction with Health Care in America

The Washington Monthly has an interesting report on a survey discussing satisfaction with the American Health Care system.  Kevin Drum, the blog editor, states,

. . . here are the percentages of Americans who say they are "fairly or very satisfied" with their own health system:

    • Poor: 45%

Elderly: 61%

    • Everyone else: 34%

This is pretty remarkable. First, the elderly in America, who are covered by a state-run national healthcare system (Medicare and Medicaid) are way more satisfied with their healthcare than everyone else. As it happens, the elderly in other countries also tend to report higher satisfaction levels than other people, but usually by just a few percentage points. In America, where the elderly are covered by a national system and others aren't, the elderly are more satisfied by a whopping 27 percentage points.

Second, even the poor are more satisfied with their healthcare than the rest of us. The poor generally rely on a combination of Medicaid, emergency rooms, and free clinics for their healthcare, a system that's hard to beat for sheer inefficiency and appalling service. But even at that, the rest of us, who are mostly covered by employer-provided health insurance, are less satisfied than the poor. The system of health coverage provided to the vast majority of American citizens is so bad that we like it even less than the jury-rigged system the poor are forced to use.

[bm]

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