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On Healthcare: The Public Does Get It

Gary Schwitzer, on his most excellent health care news blog, calls attention to a topical California survey that concludes:

The non-profit Center for Healthcare Decisions just completed a study, What Matters Most, documenting what 1,200 Californians believe are the most important services for coverage by health insurance.

Len Nichols of the New America Foundation said, "The findings could have national influence as Congress begins deliberation on major health reform….this is perhaps the best representation we have of the public's view on a lot of these complicated issues."

“Leaders often assume that the public is not willing or capable of setting priorities for health insurance,” center executive director Marge Ginsburg said in a press release. “The fact is, when given a chance to speak up, the public is fully capable of making decisions that affect them as patients, as taxpayers and as citizens who want a role in developing a fair and affordable healthcare system.”

What did the survey show? "One thing we heard loud and clear is that the public is not willing to share high costs," Ginsburg said. "Most people said they would elect to take more areas of coverage away rather than paying higher premiums and copays. Everybody's very conscious of the fact that if you make cost sharing too expensive, it's counter-productive. It doesn't matter what wonderful things you offer in the way of coverage. If people can't afford it, they just won't use it," Ginsburg said.

Two comments:

1. Gary has been doing an outstanding job of health journalism here at the U. We are fortunate to have him.

2. I often hear remarks from administrator types that we have to participate in the medical arms race because the public wants it. I doubt this and the survey mentioned above certainly doesn't support this idea. No one went out and asked the public whether they wanted a new children's hospital at two million dollars per bed... In the end the public ends up paying for this overkill in the form of higher medical costs for all.

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