Most Americans Think Healthcare System Needs to Be Overhauled, Survey Finds

Americans are dissatisfied with their healthcare system and a large majority of them think it should be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund finds.

According to the survey of more than a thousand adults, Public Views on U.S. Health Care System Organization: A Call for New Directions, respondents across all income groups reported receiving inefficient care, while eight in ten supported efforts to improve the health system's performance with respect to access, quality, and cost. Respondents also pointed out the need for a more cohesive system, with nine in ten believing it is important to have one place or doctor responsible for their primary care and for coordinating all care, and nearly three out of four (73 percent) saying they have had experienced difficulty getting timely doctors' appointments, phone advice, or after-hours care without going to an emergency room.

In a related report, Organizing the U.S. Health Care System for High Performance (60 pages, PDF), the fund's Commission on a High Performance Health System recommended several ways to improve efficiency in the healthcare system, including payment reform, patient incentives, regulatory changes, stricter accreditation, training for providers, government infrastructure support, and more extensive use of health information technology.

"It is clear that our healthcare system isn't giving Americans the health care they need and deserve," said Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis. "The disorganization and inefficiency are affecting Americans in their everyday lives, and it's obvious that people are looking for reform. With the upcoming election, there is great opportunity for our leaders to hear what the American people are saying they want from a healthcare system and to respond with meaningful proposals."