The Problem

The U.S. health care system is rich in resources. Our hospitals boast sophisticated equipment and most physicians and nurses are well-trained, with remarkable dedication to patient care being the norm. We fund health care more generously than any other nation in the world, yet in the midst of this abundance, there are at least 47 million people uninsured and many more are underinsured, with lapses in coverage. Despite spending more than twice as much on health care than other developed nations, we trail the industrialized world in life expectancy and infant mortality. The lack of health care for everyone affects the health of individuals, families, communities, businesses and our nation as a whole. The Institute of Medicine has identified five basic tenets to guide reform and provide the quality health care system that our nation needs. Healthcare reform must be:

  • CONTINUOUS coverage, with no lapses
  • AFFORDABLE to individuals, businesses, and government
  • UNIVERSAL in that everyone has access to a basic level of care
  • SUSTAINABLE because everyone contributes, everyone participates, and costs are managed
  • EFFECTIVE in providing high-quality care to everyone