As a powerful new wave of infections sweeps the U.S. just ahead of Election Day, the nation's handling of the nearly 8-month-old crisis has been marked by what health experts see as grave missteps, wasted time and squandered opportunities by leaders at all levels of government.
Federal agencies warned that cybercriminals are unleashing a wave of data-scrambling extortion attempts against the U.S. healthcare system designed to lock up hospital information systems, which could hurt patient care just as nationwide cases of COVID-19 are spiking.
Among clinicians, there’s a reluctance to raise the issue of cost in any way and run afoul of federal laws. Emergency rooms must at least stabilize everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, under a federal law.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says remaining obstacles to an agreement include more than half a dozen big-ticket items, including a testing plan, aid to state and local governments, funding for schools, jobless benefits and a GOP-sought shield against coronavirus-related lawsuits.
Value-based care is widely considered the solution to rising healthcare costs—moving away from fee-for-service by aligning financial incentives to produce higher quality and better results. But important policy adjustments are necessary to finally make this transition.