Friday, August 21, 2015

qotd: What do insured patients see as financial burdens of health care?

Kaiser Family Foundation
August 20, 2013
Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: August 2015
By Bianca DiJulio, Jamie Firth, and Mollyann Brodie

Financial Burden of Health Care Costs Among Insured

Among insured: Thinking about your own health care costs, which of the
following do you find to be the greatest financial burden?

17% The deductible you pay before insurance kicks in

14% Your health insurance premiums

11% Your prescription drugs

7% Your doctor visits

3% Some other health care cost

44% Paying for health care and health insurance is not a financial burden

(Note: "All equally" and "Don't know/Refused" responses not shown)


Comment by Don McCanne

It is nice to know that health insurance and paying for health care do
not create a financial burden for 44% of those who are insured. The
system is working well for the almost half of the insured who have
decent incomes who remain in good health. But what about the other half?

Being insured is no assurance that you will not face significant
financial burdens. The most common are high deductibles, high insurance
premiums, high costs of prescription drugs, and, to some extent,
physician fees. But shouldn't the health care financing system be
designed to remove financial burdens whenever people need health care?
Our system is not working well for patients who have modest incomes and
current significant health care needs.

Under a single payer system, there is no need for deductibles to save
money by discouraging the use of beneficial health care services,
because spending is controlled though other less intrusive, more
patient-friendly economic measures. Physician fees are negotiated and
paid by the single payer administrator, and prescription drug spending
is controlled through negotiation and bulk purchasing. Insurance
premiums are eliminated and replaced with equitable, progressive taxes
that place a burden on no one. Instead of deliberately building
financial barriers into the system, shouldn't we eliminate them?

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