Friday, January 28, 2005

Evidence against Bush's health care proposals

The Commonwealth Fund has come out with data verifying what I've been arguing for a long time. Republicans often advocate increasing out of pocket payments for health care so that consumers would be more judicious in spending money. The problem with this is that people tend to avoid medical expenses if it comes out of their own pockets, regardless of the value of the health care. The same is likely to occur with Health Savings Accounts. This would likley lead to increased costs in the long run as preventative care and treatment of chronic diseases is ignored. It is far more cost effective to treat problems such as diabetes and hypertension early than to pay for bypass surgery, dialysis, or long-term care following a stroke.

The Commonwealth Fund compared health expenses among people in high-deductible plans as opposed to those in lower-deductible plans. Among their findings are that:
About half of insured adults with a high-deductible health plan have medical bill problems or debts, compared with less than one-third (31%) of those with lower-deductible plans, according to new research from The Commonwealth Fund. Individuals with high-deductible plans are also more likely than those with lower-deductible plans to experience access problems such as not filling a prescription, or skipping a medical test, treatment, or follow-up when needed, due to cost.

"Health savings accounts coupled with high deductible health plans have potential pitfalls, especially for families with low incomes or individuals with chronic health conditions, who are at greater risk of accruing burdensome medical debts and facing barriers to needed health care," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "The evidence is that increased patient cost-sharing leads to underuse of appropriate care."


Post a Comment

<< Home