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September 15, 2010

Balancing Responsibilities in Health Care

JAMA. 2010;304(11):1165-1166. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1313

To the Editor: In his Commentary, Dr Brook1 argued for assigning larger responsibility for health to individuals to contain health care costs. Achieving cost containment through rewarding healthy lifestyles in health insurance seems a solution that combines the best of both worlds: sound health care spending with a healthier population.

As well as being discussed in the United States, rewarding individuals for leading healthy lifestyles is currently the subject of policy experiments in Europe. The Dutch Council for Public Health, like the British National Health Service and the German Statutory Health Insurance, is experimenting with incentives to encourage healthy lifestyles in health insurance.2