Gallup: 80% satisfied with health care, 61% with insurance

posted at 3:35 pm on September 23, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Maybe Democrats need to pay more attention to their constituents.  They spent most of the summer avoiding them, castigating them as extremists, and calling them “un-American” for their outrage over their radical agenda to overhaul the US health-care system, but never bothered to listen to their actual concerns.  The latest Gallup poll of American adults shows overwhelming satisfaction with current medical care and insurance plans, which explains why most of them would like to improve the existing system rather than put government in charge of it:

Americans are broadly satisfied with the quality of their own medical care and healthcare costs, but of the two, satisfaction with costs lags. Overall, 80% are satisfied with the quality of medical care available to them, including 39% who are very satisfied. Sixty-one percent are satisfied with the cost of their medical care, including 20% who are very satisfied.

There is a clear gulf in these perceptions between the health insurance haves and have-nots. According to a Sept. 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll, the 85% of Americans with health insurance coverage are broadly satisfied with the quality of medical care they receive and with their healthcare costs. At 79%, satisfaction with costs among Medicare/Medicaid recipients is particularly high.

The 15% who are uninsured are far less satisfied with the quality of their medical care (50% are satisfied), and only 27% are satisfied with their healthcare costs. (Sixty-nine percent are dissatisfied with their costs.)

This last point bears repeating.  A majority of the uninsured are satisfied with their medical care.  They’re unhappy about the costs, which certainly makes sense, but they’re not unhappy with the system as it is.  While about a third of the current uninsured cannot afford coverage, many of them choose to pay out of pocket for health care, which makes them more aware of costs than the average consumer — and more likely to object to it.

Of the other 85% of Americans, 87% are happy with the care they get through private insurance, and 61% of those are satisfied with the costs.  To put this in perspective, the last President to win 61% of the American vote was Lyndon Johnson in 1964 (although Nixon came close in 1972). Costs are the primary concern for 38% of the respondents.  The uninsured are the primary concern for only 15%, which not coincidentally corresponds to the number of uninsured in the country.  Problems relating to pre-existing conditions worry 1% of respondents most, while eight times as many worry about runaway malpractice awards most.

And this is a survey of adults, not registered or likely voters, which is more appropriate here but usually skews towards the liberal position.

Given those numbers, is it any wonder that Barack Obama and the Democrats have hit a popularity meltdown this summer?  Democratic messaging for the last several months have been in direct contravention to these results.  It assumed that everyone disliked their current situation (not true) and an entirely different set of priorities.  Perhaps they thought they could mold public opinion through mindless repetition of talking points for months on end, but if that was the strategy, it has clearly failed.

Americans would like to see reforms that addresses costs, not a government remake of the entire system.  One could approach that by attempting to create interstate competition to increase choices to the consumer, leveraging taxes and deductions to disconnect people from employer-based systems for better portability, and especially by pushing for reforms towards insurance as a catastrophic indemnity and direct transactions between providers and consumers otherwise.  Those would make sense and have already proven to work in other areas of health care, increasing provider supply while controlling costs and eliminating overuse that drives costs upward.

The Democrats have offered a prescription that doesn’t address the symptoms Americans see in the current system.  When even the uninsured say they get satisfactory health care, a radical overhaul is one experimental surgery that Americans will want to avoid.


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Well, no one asked me, but I’m pleased with both doctor and my insurer. Having Obam-bam take over would be a disaster.

oldleprechaun on September 23, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Why won’t you racists just give up control over your health care to the government? What is wrong with you wingnutz?

Good Lt on September 23, 2009 at 3:38 PM

the uninsured

Crisis!

You can ignore the rest.

mankai on September 23, 2009 at 3:39 PM

hey congress,can you hear us now?

cmsinaz on September 23, 2009 at 3:39 PM

OK, time for a senate investigation into Gallup….

Vashta.Nerada on September 23, 2009 at 3:40 PM

100% of Socialists and Communists are for the Obamacare proposal of a Public Option leading to Government takeover of health care, and eventually all other freedoms.

Of course that would be the cynical view :-)

Ordinary1 on September 23, 2009 at 3:40 PM

OT: Hello Bertha

http://yfrog.com/b5michelleberthaj

ninjapirate on September 23, 2009 at 3:40 PM

The Democrats have offered a prescription that doesn’t address the symptoms

you could say that for just about everything that they have brought to the table…

cmsinaz on September 23, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Pollin’, Pollin’, Pollin’…

NickelAndDime on September 23, 2009 at 3:43 PM

BUT IT’S A CRISIS !!!!!

Just what is it these people don’t get ?????

Do they need a visit from fat, overpaid union people?

darwin on September 23, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Well, it’s great that we have no other problems in this country, that Congress and the White House can spend all of their time attacking this non-existent problem.

But then, since everything Congress and the White House touches turns to crap anyway, the fewer things they can concentrate on screwing up, the better.

NoDonkey on September 23, 2009 at 3:44 PM

If it ain’t broke…

gregbert on September 23, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

-Groucho Marx

Good Lt on September 23, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Anyone else feel a Double Ginsburg on the way?

NickelAndDime on September 23, 2009 at 3:46 PM

pants? meet floor.

moonbatkiller on September 23, 2009 at 3:46 PM

At least this health care debate(fight)may have kept BO distracted so that he did not have time to screw up some other stuff…

d1carter on September 23, 2009 at 3:47 PM

As a person living in Alabama I thought it was particularly interesting that both Robert Gibbs and Obama would call out the state as an example. The claim was that over 90% of us are forced into using one insurance company. That is another one of those twisted verbal gyrations coming out of this administration.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield set the record straight, but I never saw anything about it in the national media.

“Blue Cross competes with over three hundred companies licensed to sell healthcare insurance in Alabama. Because we provide high quality healthcare coverage at rates lower than the national average, Blue Cross continues to be Alabamians’ health insurance carrier of choice. When given the opportunity to go to another insurance carrier, almost 95 percent of our customers choose to stay with Blue Cross.”

http://www.wsfa.com/Global/story.asp?S=11107457

I do have BC/BS and I am very, very happy that I do. In fact, when I see the charges on a medical bill and then see what the doctors have agreed to accept as payment, I cringe a little. Could layers and layers of government bureaucrats negotiate a better deal? I doubt it.

When a president and all his cronies have to constantly twist the truth in order to sell this legislation, doesn’t that cause most thinking people to wonder why? Even liberals should step back and ponder that question.

Personally, I wouldn’t buy a loaf of bread from a person that couldn’t tell me the truth about the age and quality of the bread. Would you? Yet, some are ready to put almost 20% of our gross domestic product into the hands of a bunch of self-serving politicians. Go figure….

joedoe on September 23, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Pollin’, Pollin’, Pollin’…

NickelAndDime on September 23, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Keep those Poll’s a rollin, Rawhide.

Knucklehead on September 23, 2009 at 3:48 PM

If the statist try to rahm this through they are through.

farright on September 23, 2009 at 3:48 PM

Maybe Democrats need to pay more attention to their constituents.

This can not be stressed enough and it goes for all of them. And they wonder why the unwashed masses are a trifle upset. They are so out of control, makes you wonder what comes first the ego or the politician.

sherry on September 23, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Spreading the wealth of the 85% satisfied to the 15% who aren’t while making health care equally crappy for everyone. Way to go Obama!

Youngs98 on September 23, 2009 at 3:49 PM

but the status quo isn’t working!

rob verdi on September 23, 2009 at 3:52 PM

I’m sure glad Obama didn’t just do a flyover of Atlanta to assess the damage from the catastrophic flooding like Bush did with New Orleans. Hmmmmm…… wait…… he didn’t even do a flyover did he. A little too busy yucking it up with David Letterman for such trivial things I’m sure.

joedoe on September 23, 2009 at 3:53 PM

It matters not. Obama will have his bill.

Rational Thought on September 23, 2009 at 3:53 PM

IRS Terminating Relationship with ACORN…: http://bit.ly/YELHH

ninjapirate on September 23, 2009 at 3:54 PM

The question needs to be framed VS the govt alternative. PAY MORE, LESS COVERAGE, RATIONING. The CBO proved it.

marklmail on September 23, 2009 at 3:54 PM

But Ron Burgundy and co. were telling me that 80% want the public option yesterday!

stldave on September 23, 2009 at 3:54 PM

I bet Nazis were mostly satisfied with their healthcare, too.

/lib

LibTired on September 23, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Do more people trust those big bad insurance companies more than their government?

d1carter on September 23, 2009 at 3:56 PM

So the Hollywood idiots video yesterday wasn’t farce….it was REAL.

Thank you Liberal Hollywood.

portlandon on September 23, 2009 at 3:57 PM

In fact, when I see the charges on a medical bill and then see what the doctors have agreed to accept as payment, I cringe a little. Could layers and layers of government bureaucrats negotiate a better deal? I doubt it.

Completely agree. I’d like for a lazy, stupid, no-load job Congressman (or president), come explain to me how a primary care provider or specialist are “overpaid”.

Medical school ain’t law school. Law school is a breeze compared to medical school. And that’s before the residency, the internship, working like a dog 24×7 and if you screw up, you don’t lose some stupid, frivilous lawsuit, someone dies and that’s on you.

And insurance companies are the mechanism by which medical providers get paid. While they do take a profit, it’s one helluva lot less than the feds will leech from the process once a bill has to go through 18 layers of bureaucrats/lawyers before it gets paid.

NoDonkey on September 23, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Americans would like to see reforms that addresses costs, not a government remake of the entire system.

Bingo.

GOP, is anybody there listening? Hello? Hello?

The sound of opportunity knocking…

Bruno Strozek on September 23, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Of the other 85% of Americans, 87% are happy with the care they get through private insurance…

Is this 87% of the 85%? That would imply that the 61% is of that component and not the total. That would be 74% and 52% respectively.

Reading.

applebutter on September 23, 2009 at 4:01 PM

100% of Socialists and Communists are for the Obamacare proposal of a Public Option leading to Government takeover of health care, and eventually all other freedoms.

Of course that would be the cynical view :-)

Ordinary1 on September 23, 2009 at 3:40 PM

No, not all of them.
Some don’t have the patience, and want the rich to pay for their health care right now!

Count to 10 on September 23, 2009 at 4:03 PM

Even people who do not have insurance, have problems with the costs and mandates of this program.

Terrye on September 23, 2009 at 4:07 PM

It would be nice if Congress were to base policy decisions on reality, rather than Huffington Post, far-left fever dream hallucinations.

Fact is, there’s nothing wrong with our health care that couldn’t be fixed by tort reform and competition across state lines.

And you have to be severly delusional to believe that anyone except a small segment of Democrat donors/insiders, will benefit from the elusive Democrat plan.

NoDonkey on September 23, 2009 at 4:09 PM

This charade is overwhelming in its simplicity . . . nobody wants this socialist healthcare manifesto but Obama must pay off his whiny, parasitic constituents and his left wing supporters. He is more than willing to go against the majority and make them suffer simply to pacify his Marxist/socialist cult who are constantly scrounging for more free stuff from the nanny state. I wonder how long this can go on before it completely implodes.

rplat on September 23, 2009 at 4:09 PM

It assumed that everyone disliked their current situation (not true) and an entirely different set of priorities.

Duh. Obama’s priority (along with Pelosi, etc.) is POWER. They want to run health care. That’s the only issue for them. The rest is propaganda.

Daggett on September 23, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Not. A. Crisis.

rockmom on September 23, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Duh. Obama’s priority (along with Pelosi, etc.) is POWER. They want to run health care. That’s the only issue for them. The rest is propaganda.

Daggett on September 23, 2009 at 4:10 PM

It’s now metastasized into nothing but a political exercise to test Obama’s clout in Congress. He wants it, they should vote for it, and the rest of us should just shut up. I’m not sure any of them even know what they are fighting for anymore.

rockmom on September 23, 2009 at 4:15 PM

This will only make the Lib leftist move faster to take over all of our health care choices.

thmcbb on September 23, 2009 at 4:15 PM

stldave on September 23, 2009 at 3:54 PM

Beat me to it.

catmman on September 23, 2009 at 4:15 PM

B-b-b-but TED KENNEDY DIED!!!!!

CDeb on September 23, 2009 at 4:23 PM

if 52% was an overwhelming mandate back in November, then why is 80% / 61% not a clear choice now?

Jed_Eckert on September 23, 2009 at 4:27 PM

Bu but, I thought Will Ferrill said 80% was for the public option? Why would he and hollywood lie? Do I really need a sarc tag?

FontanaConservative on September 23, 2009 at 4:27 PM

Spreading the wealth of the 85% satisfied to the 15% who aren’t while making health care equally crappy for everyone. Way to go Obama!

Youngs98 on September 23, 2009 at 3:49 PM

You’ve hit it exactly. Spreading the misery and dissatisfaction seems to be Barry’s preferred path. Why should 15% suffer alone? Why not everyone? Then, as an added bonus, at least 85% of Americans will be completely dependent vis a vis the single payer system that will be enacted covertly through whatever artifice necessary. Sounds like a winning strategy for a fascist.

anXdem on September 23, 2009 at 4:27 PM

Does anyone really even know what it is about now. It started out with one emphasis. That failed, so the direction was shifted to moral obligation. It all seems crazy to me and the timing couldn’t be worse.

Is it all about taking care of unions, because they already killed their golden goose and now need a new one?

joedoe on September 23, 2009 at 4:33 PM

if 52% was an overwhelming mandate back in November, then why is 80% / 61% not a clear choice now?
Jed_Eckert on September 23, 2009 at 4:27 PM

That’s a good question, but in the double standard/Alice in wonderland world of Statist idiotic-logic it doesn’t matter.

You see, last November 52% Knew what was good for them and they knew what they were doing.

Now 80% (which has to include some of those in the 52% group) have been led astray by the siren song of Truth and Practicality. Since clearly they don’t know what they are doing our benevolent rulers will take it upon themselves to correct our errors.

See how nice they are?

Mad Max3 on September 23, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

-Groucho Marx

Good Lt.

That’s awesome!

JAM on September 23, 2009 at 4:53 PM

OK,

80% of the insured are happy with their insurance coverage.

Assuming 45M uninsured and a total population of 325M yields: 1 – 45M / 325M = 86% of the population has insurance.

So, there is a minimum of 80% * 86% = 69% of the population happy with their insurance and 31% that are not. This assumes all uninsured are unhappy; which is a stretch as a large chunk opt out of insurance, some are transient in their coverage, some are here illegally, and some are without coverage because they haven’t applied for Medicaid, SCHIP, … But, for the sake of arguement let us assume all 31% are unhappy.

Assign all 31% to the Obama voters. This means that at an absolute minimum 100% – 31% / 52% = 40% of Obama voters must be pondering what I’m pondering: Why did you people vote for him in the first place?

Jed_Eckert on September 23, 2009 at 4:55 PM

The Democrats have offered a prescription that doesn’t address the symptoms Americans see in the current system.

Isn’t this the M.O. of all the Democrats solutions.

Stimulus bill
Auto Bailouts
Bank Bailouts

Assault Weapons Ban

Keith_Indy on September 23, 2009 at 4:55 PM

The only thing I’m unhappy with is that my OBGYN decided to stop delivering babies. Switching docs when 5 months pregnant was a little stressful for me. Thank you, malpractice lawyers.

If Congress was serious about addressing the actual problems with the system (rising costs, frivilous lawsuits), they would start with tort reform.

Meezles on September 23, 2009 at 5:19 PM

Assault Weapons Ban
Keith_Indy on September 23, 2009 at 4:55 PM

Assault Weapons Bailout
sounds a lot better.

Mad Max3 on September 23, 2009 at 5:42 PM

I think all those celebrities had their numbers confused. 80% don’t want to change. Probably just a typo in their scripts…

av8tr on September 23, 2009 at 6:16 PM

10-20 percent are bitchin just to be bitchin

CWforFreedom on September 23, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Everyone will suffer so that no one shall suffer!

Dhuka on September 23, 2009 at 11:11 PM

MEMO TO THE 80 PERCENT
FROM: BARACK OBAMA

Hey, we won! Suck it up.

kens on September 24, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Except for the cost of insurance going up I am satisfied with my coverage, but I don’t think that handing over more power to the government is going to fix this.

I watched some chick on Fox news say that the government should be allowed to take overweight children and put them into camps because we all had to pay for their problem, and that is my problem with the Govt take over. As soon as they get the power over health care, they will control your life from cradle to grave. They will dictate every facet of your life, and I mean everything. Mental health will dictate control that physical health will not cover.

SGinNC on September 24, 2009 at 2:51 PM