Attitudes of Germans towards distributive issues in the German health system
Social health care systems are inevitably confronted with the scarcity of resources and the resulting distributional challenges. Since prioritization implies distributional effects, decisions on respective rules should take citizens’ preferences into account. Thus, knowledge about citizens’ attitudes and preferences regarding different distributional issues implied by the type of financing health care is necessary to judge the public acceptance of a health system. In this study we concentrate on two distributive issues in the German health system: First, we analyse the acceptance of prioritizing decisions concerning the treatment of certain patient groups, in this case patients who all need a heart operation. Here we focus on the fact that a patient is strong smoker or a non-smoker, the criteria of age or the fact that a patient has or does not have young children. Second, we investigate Germans’ opinions towards income dependent health services. The results reveal strong effects of individuals’ attitudes regarding general aspects of the health system on priorities, e.g. that individuals behaving health demanding should not be preferred. In addition, experiences of limited access to health services are found to have a strong influence on citizens’ attitudes, too. Finally, decisions about different prioritization criteria are found to be not independent.
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