Many Americans still concerned about access to health care


Almost a quarter of adults in the United States are very concerned about access to health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the results of a survey conducted Aug. 7-26.

Nationally, 23.8% of respondents said that they were very concerned about being able to receive care during the pandemic, and another 27.4% said that they were somewhat concerned. Just under a quarter, 24.3%, said they were not very concerned, while 20.4% were not at all concerned, the COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States reported after surveying 21,196 adults.

At the state level, Mississippi had the most adults (35.5%) who were very concerned about their access to care, followed by Texas (32.7%) and Nevada (32.4%). The residents of Montana were least likely (10.5%) to be very concerned, with Vermont next at 11.6% and Wyoming slightly higher at 13.8%. Montana also had the highest proportion of adults, 30.2%, who were not at all concerned, the consortium’s data show.

When asked about getting the coronavirus themselves, 67.8% of U.S. adults came down on the concerned side (33.3% somewhat and 34.5% very concerned) versus 30.8% who were not concerned (18.6% were not very concerned; 12.2% were not concerned at all.). Respondents’ concern was higher for their family members’ risk of getting coronavirus: 30.2% were somewhat concerned and 47.6% were very concerned, the consortium said.

Among many other topics, respondents were asked how closely they had followed recommended health guidelines in the last week, with the two extremes shown here:

  • Avoiding contact with other people: 49.3% very closely, 4.8% not at all closely.
  • Frequently washing hands: 74.7% very, 1.6% not at all.
  • Disinfecting often-touched surfaces: 54.4% very, 4.3% not at all.
  • Wearing a face mask in public: 75.7% very, 3.5% not at all.

The consortium is a joint project of the Network Science Institute of Northeastern University; the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy of Harvard University; Harvard Medical School; the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University; and the department of political science at Northwestern University. The project is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.

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