Fixing Health Care Costs By Changing Patient Behavior
Patient behavior plays a central role in fixing health. NPR reports: "Economists have long said health care, as a market, is a strange animal. A large part of this is because patients don't act like regular consumers."
Patients "don't know what anything costs, and even if we did, it does not matter because we are not covering most of the cost. This is not necessarily wrong. It simply means that as consumers, we are not very involved in containing costs. There is debate about whether this should change, with economic arguments on both sides. ... If you make patients more like customers - force them to chip in more with co-pays for drugs, doctor visits and procedures - that does seem to eliminate waste. On the other hand, it also means some people won't go to the doctor when they need to" (Kestenbaum and Joffe-Walt, 9/2).