Question of the Day

We will need to make successes and shortcomings visible and to work out strategies that allow communities, citizens and clinicians the flexibility and authority to build systems that achieve our aims. This will require a commitment to innovation, honest assessment, the will to endorse change, and the commitment to goals of optimal and efficient care. We will have to learn how to reduce harmful overutilization, inequitable access to care, and threats to patient safety. Doing this will require that we learn how to try out new approaches, monitor them and make corrections. CMS and the Veterans Administration have led substantive endeavors, working with clinical providers and educators.

Lisa McGiffert

Senior policy analyst at Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports

We need a uniquely American solution that covers everyone, assures high-quality care and fair financing, contains costs, is accountable, and lets consumers make the choices. We need coverage that you don't lose if you change jobs, is easy to understand and use, with no "gotcha" clauses, doughnut holes, or complicated mazes and paperwork for signing up or getting services paid for. Our current flawed system segments everyone into boxes based on his or her income, age, employment and health status. When we move from one "box" to another, our access to health care changes. America needs a system that eradicates this kind of segmentation.

Americans have always found ways out of seemingly intractable problems, and health care will be no different. First, we need to get over our fear of change and admit that our current system needs to be radically restructured. More employers are shifting health care costs on to their employees or canceling coverage altogether.

People are offended by the way pharmaceutical companies insert themselves between patients and doctors through massive, often misleading, advertising campaigns, and the way insurance companies micromanage doctors' decisions.

It is critical that we create a uniquely American system that preserves and builds on the good aspects of what we have and discards the things that don't work. We know from experience that what doesn't work is a confounding assortment of disconnected programs and insurance coverage that causes individuals and families to scramble desperately every time they change jobs, are diagnosed with a chronic illness or become a year older.

Robert E. Moffit

Director, Center for Health Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation

The right health-care system for America is one in which patients control the financing of health care. Every American would have the right and responsibility to pick and choose the kinds of health plans, benefit packages, and medical procedures that they want, at the prices they wish to pay. Every American would own and control their own health plan, and take it from job to job, and health-insurance contracts would be long term, following the life cycle of patients from youth to old age.

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