Question of the Day

ABC News asked a panel of experts five questions about what it would take to fix the health care system, and we'll post one question and answer every day this week.

The experts include physicians, business school professors and consumer advocates.

Below is the first batch of answers they brought back -- some surprising, some simple.

Question: What's the right health care system for the United States, and how do we create it?

Dr. Alan Garber

Director, Center for Health Policy, Stanford University

One that offers high-value care to everyone, preserves choice and promotes ongoing improvement in health care.

The essential first step to making insurance available to all Americans is to find ways to deliver effective care less expensively. It will not be possible to solve the challenge by simply pumping more money into the system. Eliminating waste and avoiding ineffective care is necessary but will not be enough.

We have to recognize that some care is too costly, and that it should not be considered a necessity, even if there's a chance that it will slow the course of an illness.

Dr. David Gratzer

Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a licensed physician in the United States and Canada. Gratzer wrote "The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care" (Encounter Books, 2006)

I think everyone -- left, right and center -- would agree: We want high-quality health care that's affordable. Some suggest that we can only get there by expanding government. I disagree.

Americans ultimately face three options: managed care, socialized medicine or market reforms. Managed care is too paternalistic for Americans; socialized medicine is built on the rationing of care. Thus, I favor market reforms.

Regina Herzlinger

Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the Nancy R. McPherson professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School

A good health care system is one in which consumers decide what they want -- not the employer, not the HMO, not Congress.

Give everyone who has insurance from the employer the funds now used to buy health insurance. Give the poor the money Medicaid now uses to buy health insurance for them. Take away subsidies from hospitals that pay them to provide care for the uninsured and give that money directly to the poor uninsured. In Massachusetts, this amounts to $1 billion annually. Require that everyone buy health insurance with this money.

Dr. Joanne Lynn

Physician and former RAND researcher, now with the US Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The right health care system for America is one that gives every American the opportunity to live as comfortably, meaningfully and as long as possible in a health care system the community can sustain. That means that every person should get the treatments that have proved effective in preventing serious illnesses. Those who can be cured should be cured, and those who are chronic should live well and die comfortably when that time comes.

It also means that we can be proud of having an efficient and reliable set of care arrangements, tailored to our different priorities at different times of our lives. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has taken on a leadership role in this work for the past few years.

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