Rasmussen: People starting to appreciate American health-care system

With all of the talk about how badly the American health-care system needs an overhaul, one might have expected its customers to give it the lowest possible ratings.  Instead, Rasmussen’s polling shows the opposite.   In the last three months of debate over a government takeover of the health-care industry, support for the current system has improved by nearly a third, and less than a fifth now rank it as poor:

Forty-eight percent (48%) of U.S. voters now rate the U.S. health care system as good or excellent. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 19% rate it as poor.

These figures reflect a significant increase in support for the health care system over the past few months. In May, just 35% of adults nationwide rated the system as good or excellent. A year ago, just 29% of Likely Voters rated the system in such positive terms.

The new polling also shows that 80% of those with insurance rate their own coverage as good or excellent. That’s up from 70% in May.

Rasmussen notes a partisan split among the respondents, but it’s not as stark as one might imagine.  Eighty-nine percent of Republicans think the health care they receive now is good or excellent and 69% of independents agree — as do 66% of Democrats.  When asked to rate the overall system rather than just their own care, all of the three give lower favorable ratings, but both Republicans and independents have majorities rating it as good or excellent.  Even though two-thirds of Democrats rate their own care as good or excellent, 71% of Democrats want to change the system, which hints that quality of care may not be their primary motivation.

Interestingly, the satisfaction with their own personal care doesn’t show much difference by income levels, either.  Fifty-eight percent of those making under $20,000 a year think their care is good or excellent, which goes up to 72% for those making between $20K-$40K, and continues to escalate through the various income levels.  If 58% of the lowest-income Americans think they get good or excellent health care, why should we upend the entire system?

The Rasmussen poll may test the axiom that people don’t appreciate what they have until they lose it.  We haven’t lost the medical system that generates such high favorability ratings, but we’re being threatened with its loss — and that has people reevaluating the system.