The Amazing Maze of US Health Care | Health Care Reform: The Next Round – On Quality

Amazing seems a most appropriate word to describe the financing and delivery of health care services in the United States of America.
James L. McGee, CEBS--On Health Care Reform

You have heard the arguments.

In the first corner:  “We have the best health care system in the world.  People travel to this country from all over the world to get the best health care.  the parking lots in hospitals bordering Canada are full of cars with Canadian license plates.”

In the second corner: “There are 100,000 deaths per year from hospital infections and a similar number from prescription drug errors, and an equally horrific number of people who need to be re-admitted to the hospital for complications.  And what about “Never Events”, those medical errors that are described as adverse events that are unambiguous (clearly identifiable and measurable), serious (resulting in death or significant disability), and usually preventable.

And there is a voice in a third corner: “We have the most expensive health care system in the world yet the United States is not ranked among the top twenty nations in infant mortality, maternal mortality, longevity, or hospital admissions avoidable with access to health care.”

It’s a bit like arguing who won the Super Bowl (this is Super Bowl weekend, after all) by comparing rushing yardage, passing yardage, first downs, time of possession.  Unlike football, in health care there is no touchdown metric, no definitive “points on the board” that decides health care quality.

Which corner would you pick?

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