Most Americans Do Not Believe That We Have The Best Health Care In The World

Republicans argue against health care reform by arguing that we have the best health care in the world and we should not mess with it. The data already shows that this is not true. A new Pew Research Center survey also shows that many Americans do not believe this:

According to Americans the United States does not have the best health care in the world. Most see our health care as average (32%) or below average (27%) when compared with health care in other industrialized countries. Only 15% support the often-used political talking point that America has the best health care in the world; 23% say it is above average. Republicans (28%) are far more likely than Democrats (9%) or independents (12%) to say American health care is the best in the world, and conservative Republicans are even more pro American health care (66% say it is the best in the world or above average). More wealthy Americans are also more supportive of American health care. While 50% of those earning an income of $100,000 or more say American health care is above average or the best in the world, more than six-in-ten in the three income groups earning less than $75,000 say it is average or below average.

Note that while Republicans are more likely than Democrats or Independents to say that American health care is the best in the world, only 28 percent of Republicans believe this.

In many ways we do have the best health care system in the world. Unfortunately we also have the worst health care delivery system in the industrialized world. It is a problem if we are the best in the world at treating breast cancer but worst in the industrialized world at providing coverage to screen for breast cancer.

We do have some classes of people in this country who do receive health care comparable, and sometimes even better than those in European countries. This includes those who have the better employer-paid health care plans, which explains that correlation with the wealthier also believing that the United States has the best health care.

The other group which often has health care comparable to Europe is the elderly–those on the government Medicare program. You can’t see this effect on results in this study (unless there is more detail than what is in the page linked to) as I notice it breaking down by over and under 50. It would be interesting to separate out those 50-64. Those often have the worst care as they have more difficulty getting coverage if needed on the individual market, as compared to those over 65 who have Medicare.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    charles says:

    What countries have  better health plans?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Pretty much every industrialized country has a better health care delivery system than the United States. Note the first link in the post.

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