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Study: Less than Half of Americans Are Happy with Their Health Care

By Susannah Crepet, CQ Staff

August 1, 2007 – Less than half of Americans are fully satisfied with their medical care, according to a report released this week by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Only 48 percent of Americans age 18 and over who had gone to a doctor or medical clinic within a year of being surveyed rated their health care nine or 10, on scale of zero to 10, according to report.

The findings are based on data from the 2006 National Healthcare Quality Report, which examines the quality of health care across America in four key areas: effectiveness of health care, patient safety, timeliness of care, and focus on the patient.

According to the report, the perception of quality of the health care varied by the individual's race, ethnicity, and the type of insurance held. Among Asians, 31 percent of individuals rated their health care nine or 10, along with 37 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives. The report found that less than half of white Americans—49 percent—and black Americans—46 percent—gave a nine or 10 rating to their health care. Among Hispanics, 43 percent of individuals reported receiving high quality health care, according to the study.

Other findings include:

  • Slightly less than 60 percent of people age 65 and older who have Medicare, with or without additional private or public health insurance, rated their care the highest, compared with 46 percent of privately insured patients and 39 percent of uninsured Americans.
  • Less than half of men and women—46 percent and 49 percent, respectively—saw their care as excellent.

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