Minority Differences

Most Americans share similar views on health care issues; however, the 1998 Health Confidence Survey finds some significant differences in opinions between minority and white Americans. Minorities express lower satisfaction with the care they have received recently, but they express similar levels of confidence about their care in the future. Minorities have more confidence than whites about the care they will receive under Medicare, and are more likely to favor government intervention in insurance plan regulation and coverage for the uninsured.

Minorities Critical of Health Care System, but Have Confidence in Government Programs

  • Although a majority of Americans give health care in America high ratings, a majority of minorities rate it as fair or poor (57 percent). Minorities are more inclined to express lower levels of satisfaction with most aspects of the health care they have received over the past two years, particularly the quality of care received (43 percent v. 56 percent of whites) and their choice of doctor (42 percent v. 52 percent of whites).
  • Minorities and white Americans share similar levels of confidence about their health care in the next 10 years. However, when considering future care under Medicare, minorities are more confident they will get the treatments they need (27 percent v. 15 percent) and that they will have enough freedom to choose their medical providers under Medicare (23 percent v. 14 percent).
  • Working minorities have more confidence than working whites that Medicare will provide them with health insurance benefits throughout their retirement (45 percent v. 35 percent). Despite minorities' stronger faith that the system will be there, minorities and whites share similar views on whether or not the system will continue to provide benefits equal to those received by retirees today.

More Minorities Are Enrolled in Managed Care

  • Minorities are more likely to label their current health plans as HMOs (43 percent v. 30 percent of whites), while whites are more likely to identify their plans as traditional health insurance (34 percent v. 21 percent of minorities). Furthermore, among those enrolled in private health insurance plans, minorities are more likely to be enrolled in HMO-type plans (44 percent v. 28 percent of whites).
  • A smaller proportion of minorities have health insurance of any kind (82 percent v. 89 percent of whites). However, when insured, minorities are more likely to indicate they have a choice of two or more plans (67 percent v. 55 percent of whites).

Minorities Support Government Reform of Health Care

  • While a majority of minorities favor increased government regulation of health insurance plans (55 percent), only 44 percent of whites favor it. Even when told additional regulation would increase costs $50 a month, 31 percent of minorities still favor regulation, compared with 18 percent of whites.
  • Minorities show consistently stronger support than whites for proposals to guarantee all Americans access to health insurance, particularly requiring all employers to offer insurance (85 percent v. 76 percent of whites); allowing the uninsured to purchase Medicare (76 percent v. 66 percent of whites); and a 1 percent increase in payroll or income taxes (61 percent v. 52 percent for a payroll tax increase; 52 percent v. 40 percent for an income tax increase).

Source: 1998 Health Confidence Survey