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 email@example.com. For additional assistance, contact Tracy James, University Communications, at 812-855-0084 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bernice Pescosolido | Newswise Science News
Forest Bird Community is endangered in South America
12.02.2019 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Even psychological placebos have an effect
05.02.2019 | Universität Basel
For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.
The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...
Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens
Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...
Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light
When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...
The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...
Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs. The researchers reported their findings in Nature Communications.
DNA is not only a popular research topic because it contains the blueprint for life – it can also be used to produce tiny components for technical applications.
11.02.2019 | Event News
30.01.2019 | Event News
16.01.2019 | Event News
15.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
15.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
15.02.2019 | Life Sciences