Sep 13, 2018
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The collapsing U.S. health care system: What is taking so long?

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The title of this post comes from a speech from Columbia health policy and management professor Lawrence Brown.  For years, Presidents and other politicians have noted that rising health care costs will lead to the collapse of the system.  Michael Millenson highlights this state of unending crisis in his Health Affairs blog post titled “Half A Century Of The Health Care Crisis (And Still Going Strong).”  It is of particularly of interest in looking at the consistency of how President’s have messaged rising health care costs:

on July 10, 1969, President Richard Nixon proclaimed, “We face a massive crisis in this area.” Without prompt administrative and legislative action, he added at a special press briefing, “we will have a breakdown in our medical care system.”…the Obama administration warned in year 41 of the crisis (2009): “Soaring health care costs make our current course unsustainable.” In year 50 (2018), the Trump administration used nearly the same language, declaring, “The system we have is unsustainable, and it cannot continue.”

Millenson’s article is thoughtful throughout and touches not only on the issue of cost, but also on quality and access issues.  The article concludes as follows:

“Everyone seems to agree that the existing system—or lack of system—has rather marked shortcomings,” Gardner complained plaintively. “But there is not yet any agreement as to what a more perfect system will look like.”

 



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Article Categories:
Crisis · Health Care Spending · Public Policy

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