Vital Signs

Throughly American Healthcare

You would have thought that, at 17 percent of the U.S. economy, the healthcare industry would be much better understood than it apparently is by our Washington brethren.  I can’t help but look back and smile at the image of Nancy Pelosi standing at a podium and opining on how she couldn’t wait to get the healthcare-reform act passed so we could all discover the great reforms that were included therein.  Or when I recall how President Obama confidently reassured the business community that his package was certain to lower the cost of providing healthcare to our nation’s workforce.  Now, with 15 to 20 percent of health-insurance pricing increases already realized, most every businessman I know accuses the President of being, at the least, grossly misinformed.  Some, of course, have much worse to say regarding the President’s candor on the subject of costs in advance of the passage of his reform bill.

Unfortunately, the nation’s understanding of “world’s greatest healthcare system” may not rise much above the low standard set by Nancy and her boss.

Begin with our claim on the title of “finest system in the world.”  Our “outcomes” are now significantly below those of all major European countries.  Healthcare accidents are so common that no one even takes notice anymore, except at the plaintiffs’ bar.  Population health in this country...

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