Sunday, September 6, 2009

How American Health Care Killed My Father

That is the provocative title of an article by David Goldhill in the September, 2009 issue of The Atlantic monthly magazine. After the needless death of his father, Goldhill began a personal exploration of the health-care industry. He found that for years it has delivered poor service and irregular quality with an astonishingly high cost. It is a system, he argues, that is not worth preserving in anything like its current form, and he believes that the timid health-care reform now being contemplated will not fix it. His insights as a non-health care professional business executive, who looks at things from a business point of view, are profound, and I encourage everyone to read the article. You understanding of the compelling need for change will be enhanced.

So, if change is needed, what is the experts prescription for change, in a nutshell? In a September 6, 2009 article from the The Brookings Institution a group of 10 health care policy experts detail a set of concrete, feasible steps to revamp the system to control cost and improve saftey and quality. The plan, “Bending the Curve: Effective Steps to Address Long-Term Health Care Spending Growth,” focuses on reducing the growth of health care spending, while also improving quality.

Their strategy consists of four interrelated pillars:
  • First, we all need better information and tools to be more effective in getting the right care.
  • Second, payments to health care providers should reward improvement in quality and reductions in cost growth, while emphasizing disease prevention and coordination of care.
  • Third, health insurance markets must be reformed and government subsidies restructured to create competition and improve incentives around value improvement rather than risk selection. This will require all to be covered in some way.
  • Fourth, people need support for improving their health and lowering overall health care costs, including incentives for achieving measurable health goals.
The report is well worth a read, in order to understand each of the pillars. Only by being informed on the issues so we know what is really being suggested can we cut through the claims of those trying to derail needed change. You can get a copy of this report by clicking on this text.

1 comment:

EL said...

Another good Krugman article: