The Road to Health Care Reform: Designing a System That Works


"As we forge ahead in charting a new health care course, we must devise the most modern, streamlined, and economically sound system that can answer the needs of this nation's citizens. Jeffrey Merrill - formerly Principal Health Economist for the U. S. Congressional Budget Office and past Director of Legislation and Policy for the Health Care and Financing Administration - has traveled worldwide to explore the systems of many other developed nations. He has found that they have managed not only to achieve universal health care - with a higher degree of consumer satisfaction - but they spend less than we do. Our great nation, home to many of the finest, cutting-edge facilities, needs a vision that will lead to the highest quality care for all Americans. Merrill asks why these other countries have made health care available to all their citizens, while we, the richest and most technologically advanced country, have not. Despite the fact that we as Americans are all vulnerable to financial ruin were we to lose our jobs or be stricken with catastrophic illness, we have not been willing to guarantee our fellow Americans the right to health care coverage. Some assume that the only way to accomplish such a goal would be to water down the quality of care and entrust our health and lives to the hands of the government. Merrill argues that this is not the case. Contrary to popular myth, Merrill shows that the options for universal health care are virtually limitless and can be achieved as easily through the private sector without turning the whole system over to the government. By crafting a system that is uniquely American, yet draws on the best that other systems have to offer - those of the Canadians, French, Japanese, British, Germans, Dutch, and Australians - we can provide the highest quality of health care while actually giving doctors and hospitals greater latitude and control, placing clinical decision making back in their hands. Unless we seize the moment to design a new system, the costs of health care will continue to skyrocket for consumers. As Merrill argues, it is really in no one's best interest, including insurers, hospitals, health professionals, consumers, or the economy in general to reduce health care expenditures. The question is, however, whether we can afford universal access without controlling cost. Merrill offers suggestions on how we might balance the needs of the economy for a robust, growing health sector with concerns over breaking the bank. He offers a fresh, pragmatic, and nonideologic approach to solving this and formulating a new health care system, one that will view health care as a right, not a privilege. He fuses the best of America's values and ingenuity with the successful health care approaches of other nations. If we follow his expert recommendations, we will be rewarded not only with a finer, more comprehensive health care plan, but one that we can afford." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1994


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