Everyone knows there is a healthcare crisis in America. But Congress seems unwilling or unable to fix it. What to do now?
Bill Frist, former heart surgeon and Senate Majority Leader, has formed a bipartisan group called United States of Care to try to come up with real solutions. Frist quotes Sir William Osler, sometimes called the father of modern medicine, who said, “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”
Frist writes in Forbes that our patient is the United States health care system, and it is very sick. Unfortunately, we have been debating this issue for over a hundred years since the Progressives of President Teddy Roosevelt tried to socialize our healthcare. Frist says the bipartisan divide has lost focus on the patient. It’s time to change that.
United States of Care is a diverse collection of voices including caregivers, health care industry leaders, patient advocates, entrepreneurs, former elected officials, and activists. They disagree on many topics but they are all passionate about finding solutions. Here is what they do agree on:
- No American family should face the prospect of going bankrupt due to unforeseen medical bills
- Every American ought to have access to some kind of quality health care, within their budget, regardless of where they live or how healthy they have been in the past
- Solutions for which we advocate must be fiscally responsible so that they are sustainable.
Their mission is to:
- Find points on which a majority of Americans agree
- Address those points on a state-government level
- Educate the public on areas of healthcare policy that can be misunderstood
Here are some profound statements taken from the website of United States of Care:
- 27% of American families have delayed care because of concerns about the cost
- 28 million Americans have no health insurance
- 4 in 10 adults with insurance say they have trouble affording the deductibles
These statements testify to the failure of ObamaCare to solve the real problems of our healthcare system. One in four Americans is delaying treatment because of cost. Universal coverage, as promised by Obama, never happened. Even 40% of those with insurance can’t afford their deductibles – which means they can’t afford their treatment. A better way is obviously needed.
Here is the immediate plan for United States of Care:
In 2018, United States of Care will focus on:
- Harnessing On-the-Ground Learning: Listening to personal stories and local experts and harnessing public opinion to shape policies that reflect the hopes and concerns of the majority of Americans who don’t want to be without the care they need.
- Providing Policy Support:Providing resources and actionable approaches to state and federal policymakers, drawing on a wide range of expertise, facilitating stakeholder engagement, and connecting the dots between the interests of citizens and their elected representatives.
- Developing New Ideas:Identifying and developing new solutions that make progress toward the principles of expanding access to affordable care.
- Driving Real Changethat improves the health and well being of Americans now and on a lasting basis.
This is certainly a laudable effort and I wish them the best of success. Perhaps this bipartisan group can make real policy suggestions that Congress will heed, and maybe even legislate. That’s more than Congress is doing now. If not Congress, then perhaps state governments will enact these suggestions and find the solutions that actually make delivery of better healthcare possible for all Americans.