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Thursday, September 7th 2006

Capitalism Simply Doesn't Work!

Are patients too lazy and or stupid to make market driven healthcare work? They spend more time researching appliances than healthcare.

Americans spend twice as much time researching car and computer purchases than they do in selecting a doctor, and six in ten say they probably wouldn’t change their ways even if price and quality information on health care providers was readily available. These are among the findings of a nationwide survey of 1,000 adults commissioned by Destiny Health and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.

The article isn’t all bad news. It theorizes that once patients become more responsible for the costs of their healthcare they’ll be more likely to pursue research (not that there’s a whole lot of open data on healthcare costs and outcomes available right now, which is a shame).

[T]he results show how paternalistic forms of coverage have had the effect of keeping Americans disengaged from the health care process. This, [Barry Swartzberg] said, is because Americans with traditional health insurance see little or nothing to gain from seeking the lower prices or higher quality of care that might be available from providers outside their insurer’s network.

“Consumerism is making an impact in every corner of the economy but the doctor’s office,” he said. “And that needs to change if we are to gain control of rising health care costs. The issue is ‘value’—the merging of cost and quality. Americans are unmatched in seeking value in their consumer-goods purchases, and it is critical that the health care system be adjusted to reward a similar degree of diligence.”

H/T Kevin, MD