Americans Most Dissatisfied with Country Health Care System

July 8, 2008 ( - Recent research from Harris Interactive finds that, of ten developed countries, the U.S. has the most unpopular health care system.

One-third of Americans indicated they believe that the American system “has so much wrong with it that we need to completely rebuild it”, and half said they think that “fundamental changes are needed to make it work better,” according to research findings. Among the other nine countries, those who believe they need to completely rebuild their systems include 9% in The Netherlands, 12% in Spain, 15% in France, 17% in New Zealand, 18% in Australia, and 20% in Italy.

Only 12% of U.S. adults polled said the health care system works pretty well and only minor changes are needed to make it better.

The Netherlands’ health care system was the most popular, with 42% of adults saying health care works well and only minor changes are needed, and only 9% saying the system needs to be completely rebuilt.

A Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted in June among the five largest European countries also found:

  • In Germany a large majority feel that “access to health care in Germany depends on the patient’s ability to pay for it”;
  • Among the other four European countries between 25% and 38% agree with this statement while about half of all adults disagree;
  • Majorities of adults in France (70%) and Britain (59%) reported their health care systems are “the envy of the world”; and
  • Only minorities in Spain (38%), Germany (32%), and Italy (20%) feel this way about their systems.

The data for the ten-country comparison comes from three different sources, published separately. The data for France, Italy, Spain and Germany come from an FT/Harris Poll conducted in June 2008 for the Financial Times. The data for the United States and Great Britain come from a Harris Interactive survey conducted for the International Herald Tribune and France 24 in May 2008. The data for The Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia come from a Harris Interactive survey conducted for The Commonwealth Fund between March and May 2007.

In every country just over 1,000 adults were surveyed either by telephone or online.

More research results are here .