How Do We Pay for Health Care?

There seem to be weekly snapshot pools on what people think of health care reform.  A better tool, in my opinion, for guaging the public sentiment on this issue is a report prepared for the Kettering Foundation that was released June 19, 2009 at briefings in Washington, DC.   The Stennis Institute held one of the forums last year for this report.  Here’s more info about the report:

The report, titled Public Thinking about Coping with the Cost of Health Care: How Do We Pay for What We Need, presents outcomes of the 2008 National Issues Forums (NIF) where participants used the issue book titled Coping with the Cost of Health Care: How Do We Pay for What We Need? in deliberative public forums around the country.

The following are excerpts from the report’s executive summary.

This report examines public thinking about the rising cost of health care–the values, thoughts, insights, and struggles voiced by a diverse collection of thousands of Americans in deliberative forums in 40 states and the District of Columbia from July 2008 to January 2009.  Forum participants gathered in educational and faith-based institutions, clubs and community centers, and libraries to deliberate about an issue that is currently of central importance to this nation–the challenges associated with the rising cost of health care. (report page 6)

Areas of Common Ground

Despite the complexity of the issue, participants in a great many forums did find areas of common ground.

    • People agreed that the issue of cost–the cost of providing both health care and health insurance–poses the greatest threat to the system
    • They favored providing at least minimal insurance to all Americans, especially children.
    • Many strongly endorsed increasing wellness and prevention programs, particularly in schools, saying these could help decrease health-care costs in the long run.  Participants also favored educating the public about making good personal health decisions, and providing incentives for better behavior.
    • Most important–and despite the fact that they did not reach consensus on every aspect of the issue–participants agreed that the nation’s health-care system is in dire need of a complete overhaul and that increased public deliberation and dialogue is crucial to moving forward and reaching that goal. (report page 4)

The report Table of Contents includes:

      • Executive Summary: What Mattered Most
      • A Framework for Public Deliberation
      • Health-Care Costs and the Economy
      • Finger-Pointing…and Some Nuanced Thinking
      • Health as a Public Good
      • Areas of Common Ground
      • Questions and Answers about the Forums
      • Appendices
        • Postforum Questionnaire Results and Demographics
        • Methodology
        • Issue Map
      • About National Issues Forums
      • About Public Agenda and the Report’s Authors
      • About the Kettering Foundation

The report can be downloaded by clicking here, or by contacting the Ruffolo Company at 800-600-4060 (phone) or 937-388-0494 (Fax) and ordering ITEM # 10184.

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