US health care satisfaction remains highNews added by Benefits Pro on June 18, 2014

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By Kathryn Mayer

Two-thirds of Americans say they’re satisfied with the way the health care system is working for them, according to a new Gallup poll.

The findings come after a report out Monday from the Commonwealth Fund that found the United States ranks dead last in the quality of its health care system when compared with 10 other western, industrialized nations. In addition to having the lowest quality, the Commonwealth report said the U.S. spends far more on health care costs per person than any other country.

Despite low rankings in that analysis, Gallup’s latest poll numbers imply Americans largely don’t seem to mind their health care system.

“Americans’ high level of satisfaction with how the health care system is treating them suggests that health care is not in a crisis for most Americans,” Gallup researchers wrote. “At the same time, that 30 percent of the adult population — more than 70 million people — is not satisfied with the health care system underscores the need for improvement.”

Americans’ satisfaction with the health care system is highly related to their health insurance status, although having health insurance doesn’t guarantee satisfaction, Gallup found. Nearly three in 10 Americans with insurance say they’re dissatisfied with the way the health care system is working for them. Among those without insurance, six in 10 are dissatisfied.

The country’s uninsured rate is at a new low, currently sitting at about 13.4 percent.

The polling firm also found that individuals with Medicare, Medicaid and military or veterans insurance are more satisfied with the way the health care system is treating them compared to those with private plans.

Gallup, who has measured confidence on a daily basis since mid-March, said satisfaction increased slightly to 70 percent in mid-April, after the enrollment period ended.

To keep the survey “political neutral,” Gallup said it doesn’t mention the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Still, Gallup reports, “politics shade the results, with Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents somewhat more likely to say they are satisfied than are Republicans and Republican leaners.”

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