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Despite Increasing Concerns about High Health Care Costs, New Survey Finds Little Support among Americans for Decisions That Lim

Posted Dec 22 2011 8:54pm

A new survey by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Alliance for Aging Research finds that a majority (62%) of Americans oppose decisions by the government or health insurance plans where prescription drugs or medical or surgical treatments are not paid for because the payors determine that the benefits do not justify the cost. The exception is if there’s evidence that something else works equally well but costs less. A majority (64%) of Americans believe the government or health insurance plans should not pay for a more expensive prescription drug or medical or surgical treatment if it has not been shown to work better than less expensive ones. Majorities in Italy and Germany share both of these beliefs with the U.S. public. In the United Kingdom, at least a plurality shares these beliefs.

“Despite a common presumption that public resistance to placing limits on the use of expensive drugs and treatments is an American phenomenon, similar attitudes also exist in other countries,” said Robert J. Blendon, professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“The results of the survey underscore the need for balance between measures to control health care costs and ensuring that Americans receive high quality health care at all stages of life, particularly for the growing aging population,” said Daniel Perry, President & CEO, Alliance for Aging Research.

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