Partnership For Solutions
Statistics & Research

Methodology | Harris Interactive

Survey Reveals Americans' Concerns About Living with Chronic Conditions and Desire for Elected Officials to Take Action to Improve Care

An overwhelming majority of Americans worry that the 125 million people living with chronic conditions in the United States are often not getting the care they need and are calling on elected officials to take action, according to a Harris Interactive survey from the Partnership for Solutions.

The Harris Interactive survey of 1,663 adult Americans reveals real concern among Americans about the quality of care for people with chronic conditions:

  • 72% of Americans say it is difficult for people living with chronic conditions to get necessary care from their health care providers
  • 74% say it's difficult to obtain prescription drug medications
  • 89% say it's difficult to find adequate health insurance
  • 78% say it's difficult to get help from their own family

Chronic conditions affect people of all ages and range from paralysis, Alzheimer's disease, mental disorders and HIV/AIDS to allergies, asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure. Many with chronic conditions require care from multiple physicians, take a variety of medications and need the assistance of professional or family caregivers.

Two-thirds of Americans who do not have a chronic condition also believe that they are likely to develop a chronic condition and many worry that when the time comes, they will be unable to afford needed medical care, will lose their independence and will become a burden to their families.

In addition, the survey also reveals that people with chronic conditions and their caregivers face constant challenges in receiving care. Based on the number of adult Americans with chronic conditions and the results of the Harris Interactive survey, the Partnership found that:

  • 10% of those surveyed report that in the last year they were not able to see a primary care physician when they felt it was necessary. Based on the survey's nationally representative sample, this percentage represents an estimated 10 million Americans.
  • 11% of those surveyed (which translates to an estimated 11 million Americans) report that in the past year they were not able to see a specialist physician.
  • 22% of those who have insurance report that it does not cover all the types of care they need. This percentage represents an estimated 21 million Americans with chronic conditions.
  • 45% of those surveyed (which translates to an estimated 47 million people) feel that the costs of their care are a financial burden.
  • 14% of those surveyed report that different doctors diagnosed them with varied medical problems for the same set of symptoms in the past year. This percentage represents an estimated 14 million Americans with chronic conditions.
  • 17% of those surveyed (which translates to an estimated 17 million people) say they have received contradictory information from health professionals.
  • 16% surveyed (which translates to an estimated 16 million people) have been warned by a pharmacist about a possibly harmful interaction between medications they were prescribed by one or more physicians.

By 2020, the number of people living with chronic conditions is expected to rise to 157 million and direct medical costs are expected to double to more than $1 trillion (80 percent of the nation's health care spending). The overwhelming majority of Americans surveyed want Congress to find solutions:

  • 92% are in favor of government funded long-term care insurance
  • 85% support a tax break for people who purchase private long-term care insurance
  • 92% support a tax break for caregivers
  • 94% favor adding a prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program
Physician, Public and Policymaker Perspectives on Chronic Conditions
Presents information from recent opinion polls of physicians, policymakers, and the general public about awareness of problems facing people with chronic conditions.


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