Scientists from the School of Public Health at Harvard have recently asked Americans, as well as people in Italy, the U.K., and Germany, if they felt that decreasing the overall cost of healthcare was worth eliminating expensive experimental treatments.
The results of this survey indicated that among Americans, 62 percent were opposed to “decisions by the government or health insurance plans” for denying care if they should decide that the cost are not justified by the benefits that the care provides.
Each country’s participants in the survey provided comparable results. In fact, the single primary difference between the European respondents and those from the United States was that the American participants did not support a government agency that could choose whether or not a program would “pay for or provide prescription drugs and medical or surgical treatments if they think they cost too much.”
Other than some forms of supplemental insurance, which can help with out-of-pocket costs for some forms of experimental treatments, the standard health insurance will generally not include most treatments of this nature.
The project director of the survey, Dr. Robert Blendon, said that there is both a good and a bad side to the results. He explained that there is a great deal of support for programs where treatments available less expensively in another form will be paid for, but added that frequently when a drug is the first of its kind in the market, it is the most prescribed and will also be the most expensive. The respondents were against that, which Blendon believes is a good view.
Equally, he believes that it is a negative view that people in the U.S. don’t have as much confidence over overseeing and governing bodies than people in the European countries.