Americans give a sign of failure in the health care system: AP-NORC survey

WASHINGTON — When Emmanuel Openg Dankwa is concerned about his New York City apartment rent, he sometimes delays filling up on his blood pressure medication.

“If there is no money, I would rather leave the medicine to be homeless,” said Obeng Dankwa, the 58-year-old security guard.

He’s among the majority of US adults who say health care is not treated well in the country, according to a new survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The survey showed that public satisfaction with the US health care system is remarkably low, with less than half of Americans saying it is being treated well overall. Only 12% said it was handled very well or very well. Americans have similar views about health care for older adults.

Overall, the public gives lower scores for how to handle the costs of prescription drugs, the quality of care in nursing homes and mental health care, with only 6 percent or less saying these health services are doing very well in the country.

A. said. Mark Fendrick, director of the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design: “Navigating the American health care system is very frustrating.” “The COVID pandemic has made matters worse.”

More than two years into the pandemic, health care worker fatigue and understaffing are plaguing hospitals across the country. Fendrick said Americans still had trouble getting in-person medical care after health centers imposed restrictions as COVID-19 killed and sickened millions of people across the country.

In fact, the survey shows that the vast majority of Americans, nearly 8 in 10, say they are at least somewhat concerned about getting quality health care when they need it.

Black and Latino adults in particular are deeply concerned about access to health care, with 6 in 10 saying they are very anxious or very concerned about getting quality care. Less than half of white adults, 44%, expressed the same level of anxiety.

Racial disparities have long troubled America’s health care system. It has been crystal clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, as blacks and Hispanics are dying disproportionately from the virus. Black and Latino men also account for a disproportionately high rate of recent monkeypox infections.

Fifty-three percent of women said they were very anxious or worried about getting quality care, compared to 42 percent of men.

While Americans are united in their dissatisfaction with the health care system, this convention fades when it comes to solutions to fix it.

About two-thirds of adults believe it is the federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have health care coverage, with adults ages 18 to 49 years more likely to hold this view than those over 50. The percentage of people who believe healthcare coverage is a government responsibility has risen in recent years, rising from 57% in 2019 and 62% in 2017.

However, there is no consensus on how to provide this coverage.

About 4 in 10 Americans say they support a single-payer health care system that requires Americans to get their health insurance from a government plan. And more than 58% say they prefer a state health insurance plan that anyone can buy.

There is also broad support for policies that would help Americans pay for long-term care, including a government-run Medicare-style insurance plan, and the federal government’s health insurance for people 65 and older.

Retired nurse Penny Wright, of Camden, Tennessee, doesn’t like the idea of ​​a government-run health care system.

After switching to Medicare this year, she was surprised to walk out of her annual Good Woman visit, which was completely covered by her insurance plan, with a $200 bill.

She prefers the flexibility she had in her insurance plan.

“I feel like we have the best healthcare system in the world, and we have a choice of where we want to go,” Wright said.

A majority of Americans, nearly two-thirds, were happy to see the government step in to provide free COVID-19 testing, vaccines and treatment. Nearly 2 in 10 were neutral about the government’s response.

Government funding for free COVID-19 tests stopped at the beginning of the month. And even though the White House says the last batch of recommended COVID-19 boosters will be free for anyone who wants one, it doesn’t have the money to buy any future rounds of booster shots for every American.

Eighty percent say they support the federal government’s negotiation of lower drug prices. This summer, President Joe Biden signed a landmark bill into law that would allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. The move is expected to save taxpayers up to $100 billion over the next decade.

“Drug costs should be low, to a minimum so that everyone can afford them,” said Obeng Dankwa, a Bronx renter who finds it difficult to pay for his drugs. “The poor should be able to get all the necessary health care they need, in the same way that someone who also has the money to pay for it.”

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Associated Press polls reporter Hannah Weinerhout in Washington contributed to this report.

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The poll included 1,505 adults from July 28 to August. 1 using a sample from NORC’s AmeriSpeak Probability Panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The sampling error margin for all respondents is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

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Follow AP’s coverage of health care costs at https://apnews.com/hub/health-care-costs.

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