Workers Cite Health Care as Most Critical Issue Facing the U.S.
Taxes? Wrong. Immigration? Wrong. Terrorism? Wrong again.
It’s health care. Health care is the most critical issue facing the U.S., at least to workers surveyed by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates, a Washington-based market research firm.
EBRI and Greenwald released the findings of their 2017 Health and Workplace Benefits Survey on January 25. That’s five days before Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase rocked the health care industry and the stock market with their announcement that they intend to form a joint company to “provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent health care at a reasonable cost.”
Some 31 percent of the 1,518 working adults surveyed cited health care as the upmost issue in the U.S. That was followed by:
- Terrorism (21 percent)
- Role of the federal government (15 percent)
- Unemployment/jobs (13 percent)
- Education (9 percent)
- Immigration (7 percent)
- Taxes (5 percent)
When asked to rate the health care system in the U.S., 55 percent of the respondents described it as “fair” or “poor.” Only 45 percent described it as “excellent,” “very good” or “good.”
Workers’ lack of faith in the health care system largely was due to their lack of faith in the system’s affordability.
Some 37 percent of the respondents said they were “not too confident” or “not at all confident” in their ability to afford health care services without financial hardship. By comparison, only 20 percent and 18 percent of the respondents, respectively, said the same thing about having enough choice over where to receive medical care and their ability to get needed medical treatments.
Interestingly, whatever negative opinions the surveyed workers had of the U.S. health care system overall, they didn’t extend to their own health plans. Some 50 percent of the workers said they were “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their own health benefits with another 39 percent saying they were “somewhat satisfied.”
The respondents were most satisfied with the quality of medical care they receive through their health benefits plan. They were less satisfied with the cost of health insurance and out-of-pocket costs not covered by their benefit packages.