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Viewpoint |

Better Health Care A Way Forward

David Blumenthal, MD, MPP1
[+] Author Affiliations
1The Commonwealth Fund, New York, New York
JAMA. 2016;315(13):1333-1334. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.0590.
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This Viewpoint discusses what can realistically be expected from the US health care system and how the nation achieve it.

Despite areas of excellence, the United States health care system could perform much better than it does. The key questions: what can realistically be expected, and how can the nation get there?

To set expectations, real-world examples are helpful. Cross-national comparisons show that if the US health care system performed like systems in other Western democracies, individuals would live longer lives and spend less, and the United States could provide universal access to care.1 As just one example, if health care costs in the United States had increased since 1980 at the rate of health care costs in Switzerland, where all citizens purchase private insurance from competing plans, an estimated $15.9 trillion dollars could have been saved2—nearly enough to retire the US national debt.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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