Health Care Tops Americans’ Worries for Third Year
Health care is the issue Americans worry about the most, topping the economy as the public’s primary concern for the third year in a row.
More than half of adults – 55 percent – in a new National Gallup Survey say they worry “a great deal” about the availability and affordability of health care, while nearly a quarter say they say they worry a fair amount.
Significant health care concern has registered above a majority each year since Gallup began asking the question in 2001 – the only such issue to maintain that level of consistent worry.
But debate over health care policy over the decade, largely surrounding the health care law’s passage in 2010, was reflected in partisan shifts over who expressed more concerns.
Democrats typically registered higher levels of worry on the issue than Republicans, except between 2013 and 2016, after passage of the Affordable Care Act, while Republicans saw a small increase and even, in 2014, expressed more concern than Democrats.
But since the presidential election in 2016, Democrats’ concern has risen from its lowest point – 55 percent – to 72 percent in 2018, while Republicans concerns have dropped to 39 percent after the first full year of the Trump administration.
For the first time, Gallup surveyed Americans about their concern over the availability of guns, and more than half – 51 percent – said they worry a great deal, while 19 percent said they worry “a fair amount,” 14 percent say they are “only a little” concerned and 17 percent say it worries them “not at all.”
The budget deficit and federal spending has also been an issue of great worry for at least half of Americans each year since 2011 except 2017. And concern about crime and violence is on the rise, with 51 percent saying they worry about the issue a great deal, up from a low point of 39 percent in 2014.
Race relations is another issue that is of rising concern to Americans, with 37 percent saying this year that they worry about it a great deal. But worry about race relations has been on the rise: From 2002 through 2014, no more than 23 percent said it was an area of great worry, but that figure jumped in 2015 and again in 2016, to a peak of 42 percent in 2017.
Concern about the economy has steadily declined in recent years, and now only about a third say they worry about it a great deal, a new low, from a peak of 71 percent in 2011 and 2012. Fears about unemployment have similarly fallen, down from 59 percent at the height of the Great Recession in 2010 to 23 percent this year.
Source: US News