It’s no secret that the American health care delivery system is a mess. We spend much more of the GDP on healthcare than any wealthy country and our outcomes in many areas are appalling. There’s more time and money wasted on paperwork than anywhere in the world and no consensus on how to fix things, or even move a little in the right direction.
Of course there is widespread disagreement about the proper role of public/private financing that seems to have gone on forever, but that’s a moot point compared to the fundamental changes that many experts believe to be necessary. And we are certainly not training enough providers to meet even current demands.
While I surely don’t have the answers, and nothing much will happen during the rest of my lifetime, I am concerned about my grandchildren.
Many years ago, I had the privilege of hearing a lecture by the late Princeton Professor Uwe Reinhardt that I have never forgotten. One of his statements that still stands out went something like this: “The reason health care in America costs more than in most countries is that American doctors drive nicer cars, and American nurses wear nicer shoes.” Of course he was being facetious to emphasize a point, but he started me thinking about healthcare reform back in the eighties.
Here is a review of a book he wrote that is only ten bucks for the Kindle version.
“From a giant of health care policy, an engaging and enlightening account of why American health care is so expensive—and why it doesn't have to be
Uwe Reinhardt was a towering figure and moral conscience of health care policy in the United States and beyond. Famously bipartisan, he advised presidents and Congress on health reform and originated central features of the Affordable Care Act. In Priced Out, Reinhardt offers an engaging and enlightening account of today's U.S. health care system, explaining why it costs so much more and delivers so much less than the systems of every other advanced country, why this situation is morally indefensible, and how we might improve it.”
Very recently, I heard a fascinating interview on the NPR program “Hidden Brain.” A calm lady with an impressive string of degrees spoke about a book she wrote. Here is the introduction to the summary on Amazon:
“It may not be a quick fix, but this concrete action plan for reform can create a less costly and healthier system for all.
Beyond the outrageous expense, the quality of care varies wildly, and millions of Americans can’t get care when they need it. This is bad for patients, bad for doctors, and bad for business.
In The Long Fix, physician and health care CEO Vivian S. Lee, MD, cuts to the heart of the health care crisis. The problem with the way medicine is practiced, she explains, is not so much who’s paying, it’s what we are paying for. Insurers, employers, the government, and individuals pay for every procedure, prescription, and lab test, whether or not it makes us better—and that is both backward and dangerous.”
Because the issue affects your business as well as everyone’s healthcare future, you may be interested in hearing from these two experts. If you follow up on either or both, let me know what you think.