Opponents of health reform are usually quick to make comparisons between our nation’s healthcare system and that of the rest of the world. Americans, they argue, enjoy the most advanced and most effective health care in the world. And forcing the U.S. system to change – either through new, evidence-based government payment incentives, federally mandated quality and cost controls, or through new methods for delivering primary care or making health decisions on behalf of patients – would only jeopardize the patient-doctor relationship and undermine the best healthcare network in the world.
Those opponents of change are wrong, in part because they’re willing to accept the status quo for U.S. health care, which is unsustainable for the simple reason that the nation can’t afford the current fee-for-service health system and its skyrocketing costs. But they’re also wrong because they’re proceeding from a flawed assumption: that our health system is tops among all nations.