The findings, published on Friday in the online issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, comes as the election of President-elect Barack Obama and his cabinet choices concerning health have increased speculation of substantial changes ahead for the unwieldy U.S. health care system.
"Our findings explain, to the dismay of many who would like to see more radical change in the U.S., why President-elect Obama's campaign proposal regarding health care reform was pretty much a center proposal, compared to Sen. McCain's to the right," said Indiana University sociologist Bernice Pescosolido. "Why didn't Obama's go farther toward considering a state model? In normal times, societies can only tolerate systems that match their understanding of what a health care system should look like. It showed an understanding of the tolerance for change."
The study, by an international team of medical and political sociologists including Pescosolido, found that the health care systems in the 21 countries varied in form according to government involvement and expenditure. They shared similar pressures for change, but any change likely would be incremental and unique to that country and its people. Thus, it is unlikely that wholesale change would occur or that health care systems around the world will eventually evolve to reflect one common approach.
"People are socialized into a contract that is essentially established between the state and the citizens of this country, and they come to believe that this is the best way to do it," Pescosolido said. "Even though there are similar pressures on health care systems around the world, politicians really have to deal with public pressure, which is local, and this is going to produce different pathways to health care reform in other countries."
The study was conducted before fears of a U.S. or worldwide recession were widespread. It used data from the International Social Survey Programme and compared public attitudes toward government involvement in health care, testing associations between various national-level variables -- such as health care expenditures, aging of population and health care traditions -- and public opinion.
Pescosolido said this is the first study to examine these issues by looking at what people think at both an individual and societal level. The countries included the U.S., Canada, Australia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Below are some findings:
* Across the board respondents supported the idea that the government should "definitely be responsible for health care," with some countries showing more support than others. Respondents from the U.S. were least likely to agree that the government should be responsible for health care, with 38.1 percent indicating support. Eighty percent or more of respondents in Slovenia, U.K., Spain, Italy, Russia, Latvia and Norway reported that the government should be responsible for health care.
* Levels of support for the government "definitely spending much more on health care," appeared in clusters, with U.S. respondents again being toward the bottom, with only 17.5 percent of respondents supporting this notion. Support from Canadian and French respondents ranged from 14.2 percent to 17 percent, with 19.9 percent of Germans supporting this idea. These countries tended to have insurance models of health care. On the other end of the spectrum, countries with centralized models of health care, such as Russia and Latvia, showed 64.2 percent and 53.2 percent support for the idea of increased spending, respectively.
"One of the arguments you hear about health care reform tends to be, 'Why can't we be more like this or that country?'" Pescosolido said. "This study suggests there are real cultural limits to the kinds of policies that can be proposed, because people are attached to the history of their own system."
The study was supported by the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research at IU. Co-authors include Saeko Kikuzawa, Hosei University; and Sigrun Olafsodottir, Boston University.
For a copy of the study, "Similar Pressures, Different Contexts: Public Attitudes toward Government Intervention for Health Care in 21 Nations," contact Jacquelyn Cooper at JCooper@asanet.org.
To speak with Pescosolido, contact Alex Capshew at 812-855-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional assistance, contact Tracy James, University Communications, at 812-855-0084 or email@example.com.
Bernice Pescosolido | Newswise Science News
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy