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October 23, 1996

Who Benefits From Medical Savings Accounts?

Author Affiliations

Maryland Infirmary Chaptico

JAMA. 1996;276(16):1298. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540160020015

To the Editor.  —Although the objective of the study by Dr Keeler and colleagues1 was to understand the effects of medical savings accounts (MSAs) on health care costs, an equally important feature of this legislation on health care is that it puts the patient back in charge of his or her own money. This gives the patient some control of the medical system and allows the patient to be an independent shopper, somewhat free of physician, insurance company, and politician constraints. In other words, it is similar to the way medicine used to be some years ago, from an economic point of view.From a marketing point of view, we have a much more sophisticated patient today than was the situation a generation ago. The old adage that the doctor knows best would be tempered with the MSA system and informed choice.Ultimately, this bodes well for the patient