Apr 2, 2019

Americans' health care pessimism

Data: U.S. Healthcare Cost Crisis report by West Health and Gallup; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Americans' expectations about our health care system are a cascade of pessimism, according to new survey data from West Health and Gallup.

By the numbers: 76% expect health care costs to increase over the next couple of years, and 77% said they're concerned that rising health costs "will result in significant and lasting damage" to the U.S. economy. 69% said they're "not at all confident" Washington will be able to do anything about it.

Between the lines: Given the hypothetical choice between a 10% increase in their income or a guarantee that their health care costs wouldn't go up for 5 years, most people — 61% — said they'd take the freeze in health care costs.

  • Statistically, health costs are a bigger burden on lower-income families. But majorities in every income group — even people making more than $180,000 per year — said they'd rather have a freeze in health care costs than a 10% raise.

Americans are more down on the system as a whole, rather than on their personal experience with it.

  • Just 39% of those surveyed in the Gallup/West Health poll said they're satisfied with how well the U.S. health care system works for Americans generally, while 64% are satisfied with the way it works for their households.
  • Only 10% of those surveyed said they had foregone treatment in the past year because of its cost, while 12% said they borrowed money to pay for care.
  • Even so, that satisfaction seems tenuous: 45% are concerned that a "major health event" in their families could lead to bankruptcy.

My thought bubble: This same tug-of-war animates the political debate over health care — people are receptive to the idea that our system is bad, but there's still a risk in changing what they think works well for them.

Go deeper

Deadly clashes erupt in Delhi ahead of Trump's visit

Rival protesters over the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi, India, on Monday. Photo: Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for calm Tuesday as deadly clashes erupted in the city's northeast between supporters and opponents of India's controversial new citizenship law.

Why it matters: Per the BBC, a police officer and six civilians "died in the capital's deadliest day" since last year's passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act — which allows religious minorities but excludes Muslims from nearby countries to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted for their religion — hours before President Trump and members of the U.S. first family were due to visit the city as part of their visit to India.

Go deeper: India's citizenship bill continues Modi's Hindu nationalist offensive

South Carolina paper The State backs Buttigieg for Democratic primary

Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend Pete Buttigieg speaks at an event in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

South Carolina newspaper The State endorsed former Southbend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Monday night for the state's Democratic primary.

Why it matters: It's a welcome boost for Buttigieg ahead of Tuesday's Democratic debate in South Carolina and the state's primary on Saturday.

White House requests $2.5 billion to fight coronavirus as U.S. cases rise

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The Trump administration sent a letter to Congress Monday requesting a funding commitment of at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. rose to 53.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,699 people and infected more than 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health