A Gallup poll released March 26 shows that health care availability and costs ranked as the most common worry among American adults for the fifth consecutive year. The poll indicates that 55 percent of Americans worry about health care issues “a great deal,” while 23 percent worry “a fair amount.”
Anxieties related to health care issues surpassed 13 other common national concerns, with crime and violence, federal spending and the budget deficit, the availability of guns, and drug use rounding out a list of the nation’s top five most worrisome issues. Of the issues polled, unemployment ranked as the least worrisome.
Worry related to health care access and affordability has never fallen below the 50 percent threshold since the annual poll’s creation in 2001. Within this timeframe, control of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate has changed hands on multiple occasions, and three different presidential administrations have occupied the White House. President George W. Bush’s Medicare Part D, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the President Donald Trump-approved (but failed) effort to pass the proposed American Health Care Act have done little to curtail these fears, often resulting in a rise in anxiety levels despite their efforts.
Gallup also reports that Democrats typically have worried more than Republicans about the availability and affordability of health care, including a 72 percent to 39 percent difference this year. However, respondents affiliated with each party were about equally likely to worry about health care between 2014 and 2016, after major provisions of the ACA went into effect.
The poll, consisting of a random sample of more than 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide, was conducted in early March 2018 and has a margin of error of ±4%.