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2012 Health Confidence Survey: Americans Remain Confident About Health Care, Concerned About Costs, Following Supreme Court Decision

24 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2012  

Paul Fronstin

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

Date Written: September 2012


The June 2012 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that found the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) to be constitutional (as a tax) opens a new chapter of uncertainty in terms of the future of health reform. Calls for repealing, and in some cases replacing, PPACA have continued, and it seems that the issue will not be resolved until at least the November 2012 election. Even after the election, Congress may be able to prevent certain parts of the law from being implemented by refusing to fund them. This paper examines public opinion with respect to health care reform and other aspects of health care both before and after the Supreme Court decision, using data from the 2012 EBRI/MGA Health Confidence Survey (HCS), as well as from previous waves of the survey. The HCS examines a broad spectrum of health care issues, including Americans’ satisfaction with health care today, their confidence in the future of the health care system and the Medicare program, and their attitudes toward health care reform. Confidence about various aspects of today’s health care system has remained fairly level before and after the passage of the PPACA, and has not apparently been impacted by the June 2012 Supreme Court decision. Asked to rate the health care system, Americans offer a diverse perspective: 28 percent consider it to be “good,” 28 percent say “fair,” and 26 percent rate it “poor,” while 12 percent rate it very good and 5 percent say it is “excellent.” However, the 2012 Health Confidence Survey finds that the percentage of Americans rating the health care system as poor doubled between 1998 and 2004 (rising from 15 percent to 30 percent). In contrast with the ratings for the health care system overall, Americans’ rating of their own health plans continues to be generally favorable -- more than half of those with health insurance are extremely or very satisfied with their current plans, and a third are somewhat satisfied. Dissatisfaction with the health system appears to be focused primarily on cost. Among those experiencing cost increases in their plans in the past year, 31 percent state they have decreased their contributions to retirement plans, and more than half have decreased their contributions to other savings as a result.

The PDF for the above title, published in the September 2012 issue of EBRI Notes, also contains the fulltext of another September 2012 EBRI Notes article abstracted on SSRN: “Increasing Default Deferral Rates in Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans: The Impact on Retirement Savings Success in Plans With Automatic Escalation.”

Keywords: Employment-based benefits, Health care attitudes and opinions, Health care costs, Health care reform, Health care utilization, Health insurance attitudes and opinions, Health insurance coverage, Mandated benefits

JEL Classification: D12, I1, I18, J3, J32

Suggested Citation

Fronstin, Paul, 2012 Health Confidence Survey: Americans Remain Confident About Health Care, Concerned About Costs, Following Supreme Court Decision (September 2012). EBRI Notes, Vol. 33, No. 9, September 2012. Available at SSRN:

Paul Fronstin (Contact Author)

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) ( email )

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