I believe the public at large has for decades laboured under the impression that here we enjoy the best medical care available (Untrue. By most measures both Germany and France do better). Perhaps this is the reason that despite the real problems Americans have faced because of the increasing cost of health care the debate to day is chiefly focused on how to pay for it and how to maintain the choices we now have.
The cost of health care has increased because health care is a business and at some level those with the power to decide where the money flows have no more interest in the wellfare of patients than Ford motor company had in the safety of auto passengers when designing the Pinto (inexpensive part would have prevented death by fire but the Ford board decided that they would rather pay off victims and their families who filed claims than prevent the fires).
According to the Institute of Medicine, 100,000 deaths due to medical care are preventable.
Medicare has recently floated an interesting concept. They will not pay for the care resulting from preventable incidents.
We should be addressing the quality of care. The cost of care will then take care of itself.
Tue Aug 04 2009 13:02:30 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time) Comment to NPR http://bit.ly/sFhSs