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Obama and Health Care Reform

June 15, 2009

Obama’s short presidency has so far involved enough substantive economic, defense and international relations initiatives to fill a normal first term. But now on the horizon is yet another huge challenge: health care reform. Polls show that Americans are unsatisfied with our health care system, that it is too costly, too inconvenient and too unreliable. Others argue that it also hampers American business competitiveness, as with the health care obligations of our automakers which represent a cost not shared by their competitors. An in-depth review of the health care debate and proposals for solving its intractable challenges is here, at the New York Review of Books. An excerpt:

The central problem is its expense. Health care in the US is about twice as expensive per capita as in other developed countries—nearly 17 percent of US GDP in 2008—and its costs are rising faster. High costs partly account for another huge health care problem—nearly 50 million people are uninsured, and the number is rapidly increasing. Economists say that the main reason for high costs is the ever-expanding use of expensive kinds of diagnosis and treatment, such as new drugs, diagnostic tests, imaging methods, and surgical procedures. Physicians in most other advanced countries have access to virtually the same resources, but use them less.

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