4 of 5 Americans Hate Health System
Ezra Klein snarks, “It’s weird how the country with the best health care in the world — America, or so I’m told — also has the highest percentage of its population telling pollsters that the system is totally screwed up and needs a complete overhaul. Ha! America is so charmingly wacky!”
Here is the breakdown, from a new Harris Interactive/International Herald Tribune poll:
The relative satisfaction rates are similar across the board but Americans were more likely to pick “rebuild” than “fundamentally change” to voice their complaints. One wonders how much these results reflect relative American crankiness rather than the system itself.
Indeed, given the politics involved — we’ve got a polarized electorate, roughly half of whom are likely to vote for the party who’s banging the “fundamental changes needed” drum — it’s astounding that American satisfaction levels are so close to those in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. Only the French seem to be markedly more satisfied than we are.
For that matter, given that we now have a relatively privatized system and are therefore constantly battling over how much more government involvement is needed whereas the others are all in a choice-free zone, it’s almost certain that the issue is more on the minds of average Americans.
This is especially true given that we have a sizable number of Americans who are uninsured and have to rely on emergent care or go into serious debt to get medical care whereas the Europeans all have more equitable, universal systems. To be sure, a greater percentage of Americans, because of excellent insurance and the easier availability of the most expensive technology and treatment options, have access to extraordinarily good care than their European counterparts. But this also creates a sense of relative deprivation that’s unlikely to exist under those systems.