Home > Health care, Money changes everything > Health-care ‘system’ broken, requires fixing

Health-care ‘system’ broken, requires fixing

It’s time for the U.S. health-care ‘system’ to “become better and cheaper for everyone — to get cheaper by getting better,” declares columnist-futurist Joe Flower. I agree 100%.

We’re not talking “bending the cost curve,” cutting a few points off the inflation chart. We’re not talking a little cheaper, a little less per capita, a few percentage points off the cut of GDP that health care sucks up. We’re talking way cheaper. Half the cost. You know, like in normal countries.

We’re not talking a little better—skipping a few unnecessary tests, cutting the percentage of surgical infections a few points. No. Don’t even think about it. We’re talking way better. Save the children, help the people who should know better, nobody dies before their time, no unnecessary suffering. Seriously.

For people who are working somewhere inside the current system, that level of change seems unimaginable. When I was still working, that’s how it seemed to me.

For reference, Flower talks about highway safety. If you drove a car or truck in 2010, he points out, you were 10 times more likely to live through each mile you drove than was your father or grandfather 60 years ago. Not because drivers are better — but because a host of tweaks adds up to dramatic improvements in the auto safety system.

Contrary to conventional political wisdom, “The federal health care reform law is a catalyst, an enabler and an accelerator of the change we are going through,” Flower says.

It is not the change itself nor the cause of it, because the change is driven by much larger economic and demographic factors, especially by the crushing cost of health care. If the reform law were to go away, the change would not go away.

Bill Sez: Most people — even most dedicated change-leaders — think in terms of little tweaks or minor adjustments; they want to make the system better without turning it upside-down or inside-out. When Flower declares, “[E]verybody in the business has come to believe that the usual way of doing business is crumbling under them,” I’m not so sure.

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