Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Health Care Reform: No Revolution in Sight

26.11.2008
A new study involving health care systems in 21 countries -- and the prospects for change in response to such common pressures as rising costs and aging populations -- casts doubt on the possibility of major overhauls of any of these systems because of the history and traditions that created them.

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 acapshew@indiana.edu. For additional assistance, contact Tracy James, University Communications, at 812-855-0084 or traljame@indiana.edu.

Bernice Pescosolido | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.indiana.edu

Further reports about: Health Social aging populations health care systems

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study first to predict which oil and gas wells are leaking methane
21.12.2018 | University of Vermont

nachricht Droughts boost emissions as hydropower dries up
21.12.2018 | Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists discover new 'architecture' in corn

21.01.2019 | Life Sciences

Broadband achromatic metalens focuses light regardless of polarization

21.01.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Nuclear actin filaments determine T helper cell function

21.01.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>