Regarding Rep. Dennis Kucinichs proposal:
I applaud his concern for the uninsured and the need to improve access to healthcare services in the U.S. It is a poor reflection that we are one of the few countriesstanding almost alone among advanced societiesthat do not recognize and address this problem effectively.
However, I feel that his solution ignores what others have cited as keys to being able to afford universal coverage and access to healthcare services.
Contrary to what Kucinich argues is the strength of the current system, the quality and efficiency of the existing healthcare delivery system are major obstacles and not the foundation we should build upon. The data Ive seen suggests that a high percentage of healthcare provided in this country has not been demonstrated as beneficial to patients, that the chief reason for the U.S. spending much more than any other country on healthcare is how much our healthcare providers are paid, and that transparency, accountability and financial incentives to address these issues are only now beginning to emerge.
Until these fundamental problems are dealt with, a universal coverage model will not be an affordable option for the U.S.
William P. Springer Jr.Fellow, Academy for Healthcare ManagementUniversity of Rhode IslandDirector of research and analysisThe Health & Wellness Institute
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