Shopping for Health Care Simply Doesn’t Work. So What Might?

We include this second article on shopping because its from the NY Times and it depicts the nonsensical ideological blockage some people have about consumerism. Author demonstrates all the reasons why shopping has merit and then concludes "Leaving decisions to patients, and making them spend more of their own money, doesn’t work." What??? - Sanders DiPiero

Each year, for well over a decade, more people have faced higher health insurance deductibles. The theory goes like this: The more of your own money that you have to spend on health care, the more careful you will be — buying only necessary care, purging waste from the system.

But that theory doesn’t fully mesh with reality: High deductibles aren’t working as intended.

A body of research — including randomized studies — shows that people do in fact cut back on care when they have to spend more for it. The problem is that they don’t cut only wasteful care. They also forgo the necessary kind. This, too, is well documented, including with randomized studies.

People don’t know what care they need, which is why they consult doctors. There’s nothing inherently wrong with relying on doctors for medical advice. They’re trained experts, after all. But it runs counter to the growing trend to encourage people to make their own judgments about which care, at what level of quality, is worth the price — in other words, to shop for care.

Shopping for health care may sound ludicrous on its face — and sometimes is. People don’t have time, let alone the cognitive focus, to shop for treatments while having a heart attack, or during any other emergency.


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