Survey: U.S. health care system and state of democracy perceived negatively abroad


American health care systems, including their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the state of the country’s democracy, are seen negatively abroad, according to the latest Pew Research Center report released Monday.

The survey, carried out in 17 advanced economies with 18,850 respondents, shows that the U.S. health care system is perceived as below average or as the worst among developed nations, and that very few respondents believe American democracy, in its current state, serves as a good model for other nations.

Among the findings, a median of 48 percent said the U.S. health care system is below average, while 18 percent consider it the worst among developed nations. Prior Pew polls have also suggested that non-Americans are widely critical of how the U.S. has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Two in 10 people in Australia, Belgium, Spain, the U.K., France, Germany, New Zealand and Sweden said American health care is the worst among developed nations. Only in Taiwan, Greece, Japan and Singapore do at least a quarter describe it as above average or the best.

On top of that, many respondents expressed significant doubts about the health of American democracy: Only 17 percent think democracy in the U.S. is a good model for other nations, while 57 percent think it used to be a good example, but has not been in recent years. Americans also largely question the state of their own democracy — 72 percent said that their democracy used to be a good example, but is not anymore.

The survey showed people generally say the U.S. is now better at respecting individual liberties than it was in 2018, under former President Donald Trump. However, in many nations, the U.S. still gets more negative ratings on this question today than it did during Barack Obama’s time in the White House.

Among other findings, the report concluded the U.S. is seen negatively in advanced economies for issues related to discrimination, while it’s seen positively for its technology, entertainment, military and universities.

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