Would a Ratings System Improve Health Care?

Robert E. Moffit

Director, Center for Health Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation

Beyond intense competition, transparency. Doctors, hospitals and health plans should be held directly accountable for their performance by patients and consumers, armed with the best information from both public and private sources. Developing standards of quality care should be the exclusive responsibility of medical profession and specialty societies. In the case of medical professionals and hospitals, this means the success they have in treating medical conditions and curing disease. Results, not process, should be the operative principle. In the case of health plans, this means independent evaluations based on the delivery of insurance services, as well as consumer satisfaction surveys. The government can play a role in making such information available. Under no circumstances, however, should the government exercise monopoly control over either the production or distribution of such information to the public. Monopoly would be counterproductive. The information should be easily accessible from institutions and organizations that Americans know and trust. Medical associations, business organizations, unions, ethnic, fraternal, religious and consumer groups, especially, can and should play a decisive role in this process.

Debra Ness

President, National Partnership for Women and Families

The best way to improve care is to start measuring performance and publicly reporting the results. What gets measured gets improved, and publicly reporting how doctors, hospitals and health care providers perform will drive dramatic improvements. Right now you can learn more about the quality of a restaurant or a toaster oven than a doctor or hospital, and that needs to change.

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