Real reforms attempt to change how health care is financed and how it is rationed. Three main explanations have been offered to explain why such reforms are so difficult: institutional gridlock, path dependency, and societal preferences. The latter posits that choices made regarding the health care system in a given country reflect the broader societal set of values in that country and that as a result public resistance to real reform may more accurately reflect citizens' personal convictions, self-interest, or even active social choices. “Conscientious objectors” may do more to derail reform than previously recognized.

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