Health and financial security What's Buzzing

Americans give our health care system a C on affordability

Written by Diane Archer
Just released survey findings from Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, reveal that a majority of Americans believe that key health care stakeholders are making too much money off of patients, and many believe that the federal government should take responsibility for reining in costs.In 2013, families typically spent $600 on their health care on top of health insurance premiums.  And, almost one in eight of them spent more than $5000, excluding premiums. Overall, respondents gave the US health care system a C on affordability but, of that group, people with Medicare gave it a B on affordability.

The overall grade among all respondents on quality of care, affordability, fairness, choice of doctors and ease of access was a B-.  Of note, the people with Medicare gave our health care system the highest overall grade of any other group, including the well insured, B-, and the light users, C+.Of the 1000 people surveyed, one in three (34 percent) believe the health insurers have “profited most excessively” from our health care system and one in four (26 percent) believe that drug companies have seen the most profits.  Very few (2 percent) appreciate the extent to which the medical device manufacturers, makers of syringes and MRI machines among a wide array of other products, profit from the system.

More than 40 percent of respondents, two out of five, said that the federal government should address these excessive costs.  An overwhelming majority, 86 percent felt that the government should not allow drug companies to charge Americans more than they do people in other countries.  More than 80 percent of them also felt that the government should set standard prices for hospitals, doctors and drugs.

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