Helping Americans Save on Health Care

With the latest health care reform bill failing to gain traction, we're reminded that there is no easy fix to our broken health care system. Meanwhile, Americans remain burdened by rising out-of-pocket medical costs amid diminished economic opportunity and chronic political dysfunction. They feel stuck, as we explain in our recent report, "The Fix We're In." Public Agenda is tackling critical issues such as these to help individuals, families, and communities build better lives.

With no panacea in sight to address our current health care system troubles, we looked at a piece of the puzzle that could help people save some money and perhaps help contain health costs overall. Earlier this month, we released new research that examined how people are finding and using health care price information.

Are Americans trying to find out about health care prices today?
Do they want more information?
What sources would they trust to deliver it?
Is this information helping them save money?

Despite efforts in recent years by insurers, state governments, employers and other entities to make price information more easily available, the research shows that obstacles remain. Among the findings, about half of Americans are still not aware that hospitals' prices can vary or that doctors' prices can vary. And for those that do know this, the information is still difficult to find, as our Director of Research, David Schleifer, shared in a personal story with The Economist this week.

Sixty-three percent of Americans say there is not enough information out there. But an overwhelming majority says that it is important for their state governments to provide comparative price information. View the full report for more important findings.

Price transparency alone is not enough to make health care affordable, but by addressing the critical components of a broken system, we can help create greater economic opportunity and set the nation on a better path. Which is why we're excited to be currently analyzing new survey data about how people make tradeoffs between cost and quality in health care, and how they find information about the qualities that matter to them most.

Keep an eye out for this new research in early July. In the meantime, we'll keep the conversation going with you on Twitter and Facebook.

Sincerely,

Will

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