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The U.S. Health Care System Is Terminally Broken

The U.S. Health Care System Is Terminally Broken
The BriefGet Up To Speed

The United States spends more on health care than any other nation, but the system remains woefully inefficient. Consumers are fed up with soaring costs and poor outcomes, insurers take issue with market instability, and providers lament rising barriers to quality care. And while government is forced to contend with enormous financial strain, employers fear that rising health care costs will impact wages and sap their competitive advantage. Have the structural shortcomings of America’s fragmented system put us on the road to total system failure? Do we need to design tomorrow’s health care on a clean slate, or can innovations to the existing health care framework jolt the system back to life?


No matter what your stance on the Affordable Care Act and its implications for your business, it is valuable to understand how health care in the U.S. compares to the rest of the world.

Friday, March 24, 2017
Robbie Gramer

As Republicans decide what to do with the current healthcare policy, nearly 26 million Americans remain without insurance – and that number could soon rise. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

In 2016, 8.8 percent of Americans were uninsured, according to new data from the Census Bureau. That's a new low, down from 9.1 percent in 2015. In people terms, that means 28.1 million Americans don't have health insurance — still a lot, but fewer than ever before.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Dylan Scott

Currently, Americans pay $3.4 trillion a year for medical care (and, unfortunately, don't get impressive results).

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Ester Bloom
Reforms that nibble around the edges of the system just won’t do; it’s time for a bolder reimagining of American health care.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Robert Zubrin

If we could just start treating health care like broccoli, the market would solve the problem.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Jacob S. Hacker

We can lower costs and improve care, but it will take some reimagining.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Michael Upchurch

It could be that our health care problems don't get solved because of partisanship, incompetence, corruption or dishonesty among our elected officials. Or it could be because those problems are not soluble.

Friday, March 24, 2017
Steve Chapman

From the way the FDA approves drugs to the way hospitals are rated and the way bills are paid, WSJ Health Experts have proposed many solutions to the problems endemic to the U.S. health-care system. Their ideas, recently published and rounded up here, can bring costs down, prevent physician burnout and improve patient outcomes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Susan DeVore

We're going down to the wire again in the Senate on healthcare reform. The American Health Care Act finally passed the House, but CBO hasn't scored the latest version.

Friday, May 19, 2017
Paul Howard

It is not the Trump administration but companies themselves that are disrupting the healthcare status quo. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017
Rana Foroohar

President Trump has never shied away from thinking big, and now he has the potential to turn the politics of health care upside down with a populist solution that might go a long way toward solving one of the nation’s biggest problems.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Benjamin Domenech
Payment Methods

Much remains to be done to put bundled payments into widespread practice, but the barriers are rapidly being overcome. Bundled payments are the only true value-based payment model for health care. The time is now.

Friday, July 1, 2016
Michael E. Porter and Robert S. Kaplan

This antiquated model is the culprit behind exponential health-care cost growth.

Monday, May 7, 2012
Julie Barnes

If direct primary care continues to gain traction, it could lead to new kinds of insurance plans — ones that don't necessarily factor in primary care. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017
Lydia Ramsey

Despite being lumped together under the single payer moniker, healthcare systems in other developed countries differ, but have some commonalities: They provide universal coverage, and provide a baseline of care.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Alicia Adamczyk

With Republicans controlling every branch of government, single-payer health care has no chance of becoming law anytime soon. But the attention to it still matters. The odds are rising that Democrats will make a push toward single-payer when they next are in charge.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
David Leonhardt