On Monday, December 7th, 2020 United States of Care (USofCare) released results from a post-election poll showing that 84% of the public – including 54% strongly – support building a better, more equitable health care system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also showed that 94% of African-Americans agreed with the sentiment, as did 71% of Republicans. When respondents were asked which aspect of the US health care system most needs improvement, 51% stated affordability, more than twice as much as the next closest option. The new poll is a wrap-up of a year-long research initiative that is informing future health care reform efforts.
The new poll comes amid reports that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for secretary of health and human services.
“Our message to the incoming Biden-Harris Administration, Congress, and state policymakers is that while the American people are generally satisfied with their health care, they are still experiencing major anxieties, including affordability as a pressing concern,” said Emily Barson, Executive Director of United States of Care. “What’s also become increasingly clear is that the public – from every walk of life and political party – wants to see an improved, more equitable health care system built in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Policymakers should therefore use this unique opening to implement improvements that ensure everyone has access to quality, affordable health care regardless of health status, social need, or income.”
According to the findings, an almost universal 93% of those with health insurance are satisfied with the quality of their coverage. However, 37% are at least somewhat concerned they might lose their health insurance. The reasons for their concern include changes to health status (19%), getting older (15%), losing a job (16%), or having a considerable unexpected expense (14%). While recognizing problems and areas for improvement, people are generally satisfied with the care they receive and the coverage they have. 93% of respondents who have health insurance were satisfied. Only 13% believe our best course of action is to keep the current health care system as is (13%).
USofCare’s Recommendations to Policymakers Include the Following:
- Now Is the time: Americans widely support making post-pandemic improvements now to our health care system
- Focus first on solutions that bring down costs in all aspects of the health care system, while preserving quality and dependability.
- Recognize that there is an acute sense of urgency to make some improvements, especially related to bringing down costs and making coverage more dependable following months of the pandemic and related economic impacts.
- Recognize that most voters are satisfied with their existing care, and focus on areas to improve the system, rather than seeking to fix an entirely broken system.
83% of Americans Coalesce Around a Shared Vision for the Future of Health Care
USofCare’s vision for the future of health care is, “A system in which all people can access high-quality health care in a way that meets their unique needs at a price they can afford. In this improved, easy-to-navigate system, people will have the security of knowing they can depend on their health care coverage throughout life’s changes, and get the care they need, when and how they need it.”
When looking closely at this vision, a majority of voters say each describes their own goals and needs for health care. Four clear goals, in particular, stand out:
- “People have certainty that they can afford their health care.” (57%)
- “People have the security and freedom that dependable health care coverage provides as life changes.” (63%)
- “People can get the personalized care they need, when and how they need it.” (64%)
- “People experience a health care system that’s understandable and easy to navigate.” (60%)
Public Continues to Express Shared Needs in Response to Pandemic
Consistent with our findings from May 2020, the public continues to express a series of shared needs in response to the pandemic, which policymakers should consider. These include the desire for:
- A reliable health care system that is fully resourced to support essential workers and available to people when it is needed, both now and after the pandemic.
- A health care system that cares for everyone, including people who are vulnerable and those who were already struggling before the pandemic hit.
- Accurate information and clear recommendations on the virus and how to stay healthy and safe.
- Being able to provide for ourselves and our loved ones, especially as we are worried about the pandemic’s financial impact.