Poll: Americans think their own health care is fine, but the rest of the country’s isn’t

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll picks up on a seeming contradiction in how Americans think about health care - underscoring why reform can be a big political lift.

Most Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the national health care system. When asked about their own experience with health care though, they tend to say it's been pretty good. Take a look:


This divide mimics, a bit, the same one that shows up when individuals get polled about Congress and their own representative. They tend to give their own Congress member high marks while giving the whole governing body dismal scores. It also shows up with the economy, where we tend to say our local economy is doing just fine - it's the rest of the country that's in trouble.

It also underscores what makes pursuing health reform so difficult: If most Americans don't find the health care system to be broken, then why bother fixing it?

It also helps explain why health care tends to a politically challenging issue. Most Americans think their own health care is just fine and it's just the rest of the system that's messed up.

Also on Wonkblog

Why expectations for the E.U. summit are low