Perceived Health Care Quality Varies Substantially by Facility
Nearly 80 percent of Americans reflect positively on the health care they personally receive, but only a third (33%) says their care is excellent, while 46 percent rate it as good. When added to the 18 percent of adults in the United States who say their care is fair or poor, the data suggest the United States has a long way to go if it hopes to have one of the highest-quality health care systems in the world.
The poll asked American adults who had used doctor’s offices, hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent care centers and retail or drug store mini-clinics at least once in the past two years to rate their experiences as either excellent, good, fair or poor. Doctor’s offices received the highest ratings, with 43 percent of patients saying the quality of their last visit was excellent, while one in eight (13%) say it was fair or poor. On the other hand, emergency rooms received the lowest ratings, with more than one in four (27%) recent patients saying the quality of their care was fair or poor.
When asked to rate six aspects of their most recent visit to a doctor, patients nationwide were most dissatisfied with their ability to get in touch with the doctor outside of an appointment by phone or email—29 percent saying it fair or poor. They were most satisfied with the doctor’s sensitivity to their cultural background—with 11 percent saying fair or poor.
Six in Ten Consider Health Care Costs Reasonable, But Many Americans Still Struggle
Sixty percent of Americans say the overall cost they personally pay for their health care, including premiums, deductibles, co-payments and prescription drugs, is reasonable; however, nearly three in ten (29%) adults in the United States disagree, saying the cost they personally pay for their care is unreasonable. More than a third (34%) of Americans also believes the cost of health care services has become less affordable in the past two years, and more than one in five (22%) say the same of prescription drugs.
For many Americans, rising health care costs have major financial consequences. More than one in four (26%) adults in the United States say health care costs have caused serious financial problems for them or their family in the past two years. Among those who say they have experienced serious problems, more than 40 percent say they have spent all or most of their personal savings on large medical bills.
“It is clear from the poll that health care costs should top the agenda for what needs to be done in the future—especially in some states, where more than a third of people have serious problems paying their bills,” said Robert J. Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.