Examining Health Care Myths
In related news, Shannon Brownlee, an author and visiting scholar at the NIH Clinical Center, and author and oncologist Ezekiel Emanuel on Sunday in the Washington Post examined five myths about the U.S. health care system. Summaries appear below.
* "America has the best health care in the world": The U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation in the world and has the most expensive system per capita, but U.S. residents lag behind those in other industrialized nations on almost all health indicators;
* "Somebody else is paying for your health insurance": All U.S. residents, regardless of whether they have employer-sponsored health insurance, pay for coverage through lower wages, as well as pay taxes to fund public health insurance programs;
* "We would save a lot if we could cut the administrative waste of private insurance": Administrative costs for private health insurance are necessary in many cases, and a reduction of such costs by half would reduce health care spending by only about 5%, or about $124 billion;
* "Health care reform is going to cost a bundle": The U.S. can implement a number of measures, such as improved efficiency in the delivery of health care and improvement in the quality of care provided, to reduce costs; and
* "Americans aren't ready for a major overhaul of the health care system": About 70% of U.S. residents believe that the health care system requires major changes, and only 7% rate the system as excellent, according to a study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Brownlee/Emanuel, Washington Post, 11/23).
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