Acton Institute Powerblog

7 Figures: NPR/Harvard Survey on Patients’ Perspectives on Health Care

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7figuresA new survey by NPR and Harvard University reports the self-reported experiences of health care consumers across the country, in states that have (New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon) and have not (Florida, Kansas, Texas) expanded Medicaid, and in one (Wisconsin) that did not have to expand Medicare.

Here are seven figures you should know from the report:

1. When asked about its effects on the people of their state, more than a third (35 percent) of adults say they believe national health reform has directly helped residents, while a similar proportion (27 percent) say they believe the law has directly harmed residents. On a more personal level, most (56 percent) Americans do not believe the Affordable Healthcare Act (i.e., Obamacare) has directly impacted them. Among those who believe it had an impact, more say it has directly hurt them (25 percent), as individuals, than those who say national health reform has directly helped them (15 percent).

2. One-third (33 percent) of adults in the U.S. believe the health care they receive is excellent and just under half (46 percent) say their care is good, while just over one in six (18 percent) say it is fair or poor.

3. Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of adults in the U.S. believe the health care they receive has stayed about the same over the past two years, while less than a quarter (23 percent) believe it has gotten better or worse.

4. Most adults in the U.S. (60 percent) say the cost they personally pay for their health care is reasonable, while just under three in ten (29 percent) disagree, saying the amount they pay is unreasonable.

5. Even though most (55 percent) Americans reflect positively on their state’s health care system, saying it is excellent or good, few give their state top marks. Just one in six (17 percent) say the health care system in their state is excellent, while more than two in five (42 percent) adults in the U.S. say it is fair or poor.

6. Only 38 percent of adults in the U.S. had positive things to say about the country’s health care system, and fewer than one in ten (9 percent) gave it top marks. In contrast, more than three in five (61 percent) U.S. adults say the nation’s health care system is fair or poor.

7. One in seven (14 percent) adults in the U.S. says it has gotten harder to see a doctor in the past two years, whereas nearly three-quarters (74 percent) say their ability to see a doctor has stayed about the same. In contrast, just one in ten (10 percent) say it has gotten easier to see a provider in recent years.

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).


  • “Most adults in the U.S. (60 percent) say the cost they personally pay for their health care is reasonable…”

    The problem is they don’t know what it costs them. They only look at the copay and deductible because the vast majority of people with insurance pay a small portion of the premium. The full cost of a family policy is over $15,000/yr not including copay and deductibles. 85% of that premium goes directly to doctors and hospitals. Do they still think it is reasonable?

  • Steve Vinzinski

    The health care we receive has made great advances.I am looking from personal experience.I have spent two years of my life inside Hospitals.I have suffering a major CVA many TIA’s and ten heart caths and two major MI’s two PTCA’s and a nine graft by-pass and loosing thirty four units of blood.The dye used in the caths has improved since my first one in 1986.The necessity of consumption of literally a gallon of liquid is no longer necessary.Your PTCA’s are less cumbersome generally by-pass is less invasive.Medicine the likes of accupril and norvasc and of course the zocor statin group is very helpful.Now they have an injection you take every two weeks to lower the LDL to under forty.Cancer Ive had,a kidney removed due to renal cell cancer,basil cell and melanoma.We have seen advancements in that area.Depression,Bi-Polar and anxiety has many more medications to work with.The out of pocket cost just keeps rising at a rate of insanity.In 2013 my wife and me spent $48,000.00 on premiums and out of pocket costs.Many prescriptions just are not covered we use Good Pharmacy to help us.The costs in 2014 and 2015 dropped to the $30,000.00 plus range.This year i can see $50,000.00.Recently i read an article that around 2020 total medical expenses will reach $100,000.00 a year for a couple who suffers multiple disabilities and is responsible for the entire cost.I am not as optimistic as some people in fact every one I converse with agree.Most people do not have coverage unless you pay for the same yourself at least in my county.