Every day in the U.S. countless experts discuss plans and policies to contain the cost of health care using words and concepts that run counter to our (the public’s) experiences with finding and using care. Most of us ignore the steady stream of proposals until one political party or the other crafts an inflammatory meme that resonates with our fears of not getting what we need. At which point, we leap into action online, in town meetings and in the voting booth. As Uwe Reinhardt noted in his Kimball Lecture at the recent 2011 ABIM Foundation Forum, researchers and policy makers “cannot even discuss the cost-effectiveness of health care without being called Nazi(s).”
Our discomfort with the array of private and public sector proposals to improve health care quality while holding down costs should not be surprising. Most of us hold long-standing, well-documented beliefs about health care that powerfully influence our responses to such plans. For example, many of us believe that:
… if the doctor ordered it or wants to do it, we must need it.
… talking about less expensive treatments makes us feel that others are trying to bargain-shop our care and that scares us.
… clinical care does not vary much among our own doctors and hospitals.
… when we talk about the “quality” of health care we are referring to Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*