Health care policy experts versus the public, an obstacle to reform

I’ve often written that the public’s appetite for excessive medical testing is difficult to overcome.

Kent Bottles finds the same thing. Indeed, he writes that, ” One of the obstacles to achieving health care reform is the enormous gap between what the health care experts believe and what the general public believe about staying healthy.”

For instance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “the experts believe that 30% of care is unnecessary; 67% of Americans don’t get the tests and treatments they believe they need,” and, “55% of Americans say insurers should pay even if their doctor recommends a treatment that has not been proven to be more effective than a cheaper one.”

The myth that more testing definitively equates to better medicine is difficult to overcome. Despite the attention showered on the Dartmouth Atlas studies, which often suggest that overtesting leads to poorer outcomes, that doesn’t resonate with the public.

Until reformers can find some what to effectively convey that message, costs will be difficult to tackle effectively.

(via Schwitzer)