Tuesday, April 7th, 2009 - 11:35
Healthcare remains one of the most pressing issues facing us today. The U.S. healthcare system continues down what most experts have concluded to be an unsustainable path, mired by ever-increasing costs, inconsistent quality, and access pressures. The U.S. spends over $2 trillion on medical care annually, which according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), represents about 2.4 times the average of other OECD countries. “Though Americans spend [more than] twice as much per person as citizens of other industrialized countries, their health status is no better and by many measures actually worse.” In fact, some researchers estimate that as much as 30 percent of healthcare is not contributing materially to patient outcomes. As chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure continue to grow, managing them places tremendous stress on an already overextended system. Over seventy-five percent of total healthcare dollars is spent on patients with one or more chronic conditions. This in the face of spending projected to double within the next decade, and some 47 million Americans currently without health insurance. Against this backdrop, the current path appears unsustainable. For some, nothing but a fundamental transformation would have the necessary impact.