U.S. Health System Gets Dismal Score
High Cost, Poor Efficiency, and Lack of Fairness Mar System
Appetite for Reform?
The commission urged U.S. policy makers to take broad steps to guarantee
universal access to health insurance.
But that goal has proven politically hazardous, most recently in 1994, when
the White House tried and failed to execute broad health insurance reforms, led
by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), then the first lady.
Ever since, lawmakers have shied away from comprehensive reforms in favor of
smaller, incremental steps.
Medicare is beginning to
use financial incentives to convince hospitals, nursing homes, and others to
report quality information to the public.
And the government is slowly shepherding the development of electronic
medical records like those already widely used in many European countries --
another of the commission's recommendations.
But experts warned that, overall, reforms are moving too slowly to keep up
with a rapidly aging U.S. population.
"The security of a healthy nation is at stake. Actions are urgently
needed," says Cathy Schoen, the commission's research director.