Sick of Health Care Politics? Comparing Views of Quality of Care Between Democrats and Republicans

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Abstract

Objective:

Improving the quality of care delivered by the U.S. health care system is a topic of important policy and political debate. Although public opinion surveys have shown concerns regarding the state of quality of care nationally, the majority of Americans are satisfied with the quality of care they personally receive. Studies have shown that Republicans and Democrats may differ in these views.

Methods:

We used a 2012 national survey of 1,508 American adults that captured perceptions of quality, political party, medical experiences, and self-reported interactions with the health care system due to an illness to examine these differences.

Results:

Regardless of having a recent illness or hospitalization, Democrats generally expressed greater concerns about the country's state of health care quality relative to Republicans. Partisan differences also emerged when identifying the most important problems contributing to quality-of-care deficiencies in the nation. However, partisan differences were nonexistent on measures related to self-reported experiences with quality of care.

Conclusion:

Although their individual experiences with quality of care do not differ, Republicans and Democrats differ in their views on national quality-of-care issues. This may have implications for efforts to improve quality of care in the current polarized healthcare environment.

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