Maybe Healthcare Plans Aren’t So Sick After All takes

In an election year, the amount of rhetoric devoted to healthcare policy can convince you that people are horribly upset about the matter. Are they? As you can see from the chart, a new Gallup poll finds a narrow majority of adults declaring themselves “generally satisfied” with healthcare “in the country as a whole.” The numbers aren’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but they scarcely reflect universal discontent, either. And as tends to be the case when they’re polled about anything from crime to finances, people are more positive when asked about their personal situation. Given people’s natural propensity to complain, it’s remarkable that just 16 percent voiced dissatisfaction with the quality of their healthcare. Fewer still (12 percent) took a dim view of the doctors and nurses they deal with. Even on the matter of cost, you can see the “satisfied” vote surpasses the “dissatisfied” by a wide margin. Elsewhere in the survey, 70 percent of those polled said they’re satisfied with their health-insurance coverage, versus 27 percent who are dissatisfied. Given the din of anecdotal complaint about managed care, you might expect the incidence of discontent to rise as people are shifted out of their old go-where-you-please insurance. The polling numbers don’t show anything of the sort, though. While the number of respondents with “traditional” healthcare policies declined from 55 percent in a 1993 survey to 25 percent in the current one, overall levels of satisfaction were either unchanged or a shade higher this year.