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Health Policy Program

The Quality Case for Reform

Older Man with Doctor

Patients deserve the highest quality care.

Reforms that ensure that all Americans have quality, affordable health coverage will make our health system work better for everyone.

Americans receive both good and bad care. There are many excellent nurses, doctors, and hospitals in America. However, there are too many mistakes and too few efforts to coordinate care in our health system.

This harms the quality of care that patients receive.

The United States has the health care system most responsive to medical needs, according to the World Health Organization.

Paying doctors in a way that makes sense will allow them to focus on patient care. Most doctors have to see more patients than they would like in order to keep up in our current system. Making sure we pay good health care providers for keeping people healthy will allow them to spend more time with patients, improve health, and save money.

Twenty first century information tools combined with more knowledge about best practices will allow doctors to spend more time helping patients make informed decisions about their health. Even great doctors could use tools to keep them up-to-date on the latest technologies and medications and support their efforts to strengthen the doctor-patient partnership.

Our communities suffer from over-burdened emergency departments. The uninsured place unnecessary burdens on emergency care providers because they do not have access to regular primary care. All Americans need to be in the system in order for our emergency departments to function at the highest level possible when we need them most.

We spend money on things that do not make patients healthier. Scholars generally agree that there is a substantial amount of spending on procedures and medicines that do not add clinical value. Our system could save money and improve the overall quality of care by reducing unnecessary spending and directing resources to treatments that actually help patients.

Required Reading

The Case for Health Reform
Policy Paper
February 20, 2009

Health Care Quality
A Reform Issue for Every American

September 19, 2008

Ambulance Diversions
Policy Paper: Issue Brief
September 8, 2008