Poll: Majority of Americans dissatisfied with health care system

56% of AP-NORC poll respondents said America’s health care is not handled well

A new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 56% of Americans think our health care is not handled well, with only about 10% saying health care is handled very well or extremely well.

The poll highlights a significant dissatisfaction with America’s health care system. The public ranked mental health care, the cost of prescription drugs and the quality of care at nursing homes even harsher, with less than 6% saying they are handled well.

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A national nursing shortage exacerbated by the pandemic, high medical costs and unequal access to care are a few issues reflected in survey answers. The quality of health care is disproportionate in race too, according to the Associated Press. The poll shows at least 60% of Black and Hispanic adults are worried about access to health care, compared to fewer than 44% of white adults.

Compared to the rest of the nation, the Peach State sits among the worst states for health care and ranks the ninth lowest in the nation. According to WalletHub, Georgia ranks No. 28 for cost, No. 41 for access and No. 43 for health care outcomes. Georgia consistently ranks low in mental health care, depends on travel nurses to mitigate the shortage, and is among the worst states for senior citizens.

The U.S. health care system does not rank well globally, either. The Commonwealth Fund compared the health care quality of 11 high-income countries: the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. In almost every category (access to care, care process, administrative efficiency, equity and health care outcomes), the United States ranked last, with exception to ranking second in care process.

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The quality of a health care system also plays a role in life expectancy. In 2021, the life expectancy of Americans fell by three years since 2019, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Americans can now expect to live to age 76. While the increase of mortality is mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 15.9% of negative contribution was due to unintentional injuries, 4.1% due to heart disease, 3% due to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, and 2.1% due to suicide.

While other high-income countries faced a decrease in life expectancy, the mortality from the pandemic was more severe in the United States compared to other countries.

“None of them experienced a continuing fall in life expectancy like the U.S. did, and a good number of them saw life expectancy start inching back to normal,” Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, told the New York Times.

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