As part of the Dialogue on Prescription Drug Safety that CCPS is conducting this Fall, we commissioned a telephone survey of 800 American adults on health care and drug safety issues. We will release more on this survey later this week, but I thought I'd go ahead and post about one of our findings--the American public's widespread dissatisfaction with the health care system. We asked respondents the following question:
Generally speaking, is the current health care system meeting the needs of most Americans?
With the follow up:
(IF YES/NO, ASK:) And do you believe STRONGLY or NOT SO STRONGLY that the current
health care system (IS/IS NOT) meeting the needs of most Americans?
And received the following responses:
16% STRONGLY YES IS
14% NOT-SO-STRONGLY YES IS
11% NOT-SO-STRONGLY NO IS NOT
54% STRONGLY NO IS NOT
6% DON'T KNOW
So, over half of Americans feel STRONGLY that the health care system is not meeting the needs of most Americans, indicating that not only are citizens dissatisfied, but they have definite feelings in that direction. By contrast, only 16% feel strongly that the system is meeting the needs of most Americans.
We also asked respondents how important healh care issues would be in deciding who to support in the 2008 presidential race. 19% said that it would be one of the two most important issues, and another 45% said it would be very important. Among this 64% of respondents, displeasure with the health care system is especially high, with nearly 72% of this group feeling strongly that the health care system is not meeting the needs of most Americans.
Which citizens are most likely to feel strongly that the health care system is not meeting the needs of most Americans. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those most dissatisfied with the health care system tend to be women and Democrats. However, what may be telling is that those Americans who have had more experience with the health care system recently are also more likely to feel strongly that it is not meeting the needs of most Americans. Respondents who had taken a prescription drug during the previous year were 10% more likely to feel strongly dissatisfied with the health care system than those who had not (60.5% to 50.3%). The same pattern holds for the 40% of Americans who reported that they or an immediate family member suffers from a life threatening illness. This group was 63.7% likely to feel strongly that the health care system was not meeting Americans' needs while only 54.2% of those who did not report a life threatening illness in their family felt the same. At least in our survey, familiarity with the health care system does appear to lead to lower ratings of how that system is working.