Can We Make Health Care Worse?

With Wall Street in crisis and so many issues sucking up airtime, health care as an issue has been pushed from the front pages of America’s newspapers. Of course, Albuquerque’s alternative weekly still has time to do a story about how our health care system is “poisoned.” In fact, from the sound of things, American health care couldn’t get any worse. But, if we’ve learned anything from the ongoing financial debacle, things can always get worse.
I point out as much in a follow-up letter to the editor. The fact is that our health care system does certain things very well:

Nearly 80 percent of global drug development occurs in the U.S., with only 16 percent coming from Europe. America also leads in high-tech treatments that draw people on waiting lists (or where treatments are simply unavailable) from Canada and the U.K. to get treatment in the U.S.

Before adopting policy changes for the simple sake of change, we need to carefully consider whether those changes will harm our ability to continue doing the things we do well and whether we’ll really see improvements in those areas where our system struggles.