USA Today Examines Health Care Quality, Cost
USA Today on Monday published three articles addressing U.S. consumers' health care concerns as part of a week-long series titled "Prescription for Change," which examines possible improvements to the U.S. health care system. Summaries appear below.
- "Consumer unease with U.S. health care grows": Eighty percent of U.S. adults are dissatisfied with the total amount of money the nation spends on health care -- estimated to be about $2.2 trillion this year, according to a survey by USA Today, ABC News and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey, which was conducted last month, is based on a sample of 1,201 adults and has a margin of error of three percentage points. According to the survey, 44% of adults said they were satisfied with the quality of health care in the U.S. and 90% said they were satisfied with their own health care providers. The survey found that 79% of adults support health insurance mandates on businesses for full-time workers and that 64% said employers should offer health care benefits to part-time workers as well. Sixty-five percent of adults surveyed said they support a nationwide health insurance mandate with tax credits for low-income people. The survey also found that 82% of adults support expanding existing government health programs like Medicaid and SCHIP (Appleby, USA Today, 10/16).
- "In medicine, evidence can be confusing": Critics and proponents of evidence-based medicine agree that "[k]eeping up with the latest evidence is virtually impossible," according to USA Today. Supporters of evidence-based medicine say information from randomized controlled trials has "saved countless lives," while critics say it "devalues the doctor's experience and patient's preference," USA Today reports. However, even "when evidence is clear, doctors and hospitals can be slow to change their practices," according to USA Today (Rubin, USA Today, 10/16).
- "Universal care appeals to USA": Fifty-six percent of adults said they would prefer a universal health care system to the current U.S. health care system, according to the USA Today/ABC News/Kaiser Family Foundation survey. However, the survey found that support drops to 18% if some medical treatments would no longer be covered, 28% if universal coverage limits their choice of doctors and 35% if it meant they would pay higher taxes or health insurance premiums (Appleby, USA Today, 10/16).
ABCNews' "World News Tonight" on Sunday in the first segment of its week-long "Prescription for Change" series examined some shortcomings in the U.S. health care system. The segment includes comments from Heather Jeffries, mother of an infant who died after receiving an incorrect dosage of the blood thinner heparin; former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D); Ruth Schulze, a New Jersey physician who has stopped delivering infants because of the high cost of medical malpractice insurance; and Medicare beneficiaries (Bourin/Harris, "World News Tonight," ABCNews, 10/15). The complete transcript of the segment is available online. Video of the segment is available online. Expanded ABCNews coverage of the series - including two health business blogs and video reports on retail health clinics, challenges facing emergency departments nationwide, health care rationing, quality scorecards for health care, and electronic medical records -- is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.