Concern about the state of the American health care system ranks consistently among the top three issues that the American public wants policymakers to address. Its prominence only increases as economic insecurity continues to grow. The gaps in coverage, the high cost of insurance, and the quality of care that consumers receive are the most frequently cited problems.
Unless we link affordability and coverage to large improvements in the quality, structure, and payment patterns of health care in America, our medical bills will remain far too high and the value of our health care far too low. And unless we simultaneously tackle the threats to health outside of the health system, our population health will remain below its potential. Nevertheless, the ideas on how to translate these realizations into a concrete set of policies remain sketchy.
This book aims to fill that gap. It offers recommendations and pathways to systematically promote quality, efficiency, patient-centeredness, and other salient characteristics of a high-performing health system. The blueprint it lays out includes a vision of how different parts of the system should be structured and how they should function. Even more specifically, it proposes policies that the next administration and Congress could enact over the next five years to improve our health system.