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Pioneering a New Approach to Uniquely and Deeply Understand People’s Needs

Published On November 12, 2020

By: Natalie Davis

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United States of Care believes that we must shift the dynamic that has allowed the conversation on health care to devolve into partisan political debates by first listening to the needs of people. We launched an intensive listening initiative last year to do just that. Over the past year and a half, USofCare has undertaken a variety of research efforts to better understand the shared and disparate needs and experiences of people. We’ve commissioned online focus groups, social listening, and a national survey; hosted ethnographic conversations; engaged key stakeholders and external advisors; and conducted regular analysis of public opinion.

Our findings taught us a great deal about Americans’ needs and wants in a health care system. For example, we have learned that anxiety, confusion, and the hyper-politicized nature of the current conversation have prevented people from getting their health care needs met. We have learned that many peoples’ engagement with the health care system is tainted by negative experiences, concerns around cost, and undependable coverage. We found that the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped Americans’ view of the system, underscoring that people want a reliable system that supports essential workers and cares for everyone. They want a system that takes into account financial security, in which information on how to stay safe and healthy is easily available and clear.

Most critically for the future, people want to see our health care system emerge from the pandemic stronger than it was before. They want a health care system that provides people with high-quality, personalized care that meets their unique needs at a price they can afford. In this improved, easy-to-navigate system, people want to know they can depend on their health care coverage throughout life’s changes, and get the care they need, when and how they need it.

USofCare’s listening initiative is already informing how we do our work and what policies we champion. In May, for example, we published a guide calling on public officials to prioritize solutions based on the needs of people rather than the system itself, and we’ve integrated our findings into our pandemic-related policy recommendations at the federal and state levels. As America continues to navigate the pandemic and then the recovery period that follows, USofCare will continue to deepen its research efforts and tie them to policy recommendations so that we can build a better, more equitable health care system in the wake of COVID-19.

Find more information on our research efforts.