Contradictions between personal and systemic health issues could thwart reform

Health care reform efforts must confront a paradox, the Los Angeles Times reports: "Millions of Americans say the system they depend on for everything from routine flu shots to life-saving heart surgery is broken and needs fixing. Yet most Americans also say they're pretty satisfied with their healthcare." Because most people are healthy most of the time, because employer-sponsored insurance shelters them from costs, and because flaws in coverage that can result in skipped treatments or financial disaster are only revealed after illness strikes, people fail to see their own health care situation as part of the system-wide problem.

President Barack Obama's speech tonight will come against that backdrop, the L.A. Times reports. Soaring costs, employers stretched by rising premiums, growing numbers of uninsured, a rise in medical bankruptcy cases, and an unsustainable Medicare program all represent components of systemic problems that reform proponents must link to individuals' perceptions of their own health care situations (Oliphant and Geiger, 9/9).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Daily Health Policy Report is published for Kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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