Leading policy-makers and scholars explain how market forces, deregulation, and consumer choice can work to improve health care for all Americans.


Consumerism in Health Care: Early Evidence is Positive
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute, 8-11-05

The only people who love Canada's health care system more than Canadians are American policymakers who view it as a utopia. As Americans learn more about Canada's own health care woes, hopefully the luster will wear off and we can have a serious discussion of alternative solutions. Turner shows that we already have one solution at our fingertips: health savings accounts and other forms of consumer-driven insurance that can help make health care more affordable, and improve care quality, without imposing Canadian-style rationing on Americans. Turner reports that as HSA's gain market share, evidence on their initial performance has been encouraging:

America's Health Insurance Plans, which represents the country's major insurers and health plans, surveyed its members earlier this year and found that more than a million people were enrolled in HSAs as of March, 2005. The study also found that 37 percent of those purchasing individual policies were previously uninsured. While critics claim that HSAs will be attractive only to the young and healthy, studies have shown that 40 percent of HSA purchasers make less than $50,000 a year, a majority of purchasers are families with children, and about half are over age 40, showing they have broad appeal.

Consumerism in health care also has led to new incentives for people to be more engaged in managing their health. Many companies are instituting new programs to provide better coordinated care for those with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. One study found that patients in consumer-directed health plans were 20% more likely to comply with treatment regimens for chronic conditions.

Project FDA.
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