Contemplating Health Care Reform

Monday, August 31, 2009

Correcting Mis- and Disinformation in the Health Care Debate

Drs. Groopman and Hartzband (both Harvard Medical School) correct some myths and factual misrepresentations in today's Wall Street Journal:
• The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. 37th In the world in quality. This is another frightening statistic. It is also not accurate. Yet the head of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a powerful organization influencing both the government and private insurers in defining quality of care, has stated this as fact.
The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. No. 1 among all countries in "responsiveness." Responsiveness has two components: respect for persons (including dignity, confidentiality and autonomy of individuals and families to make decisions about their own care), and client orientation (including prompt attention, access to social support networks during care, quality of basic amenities and choice of provider). This is what Americans rightly understand as quality care and worry will be lost in the upheaval of reform. Our country's composite score fell to 37 primarily because we lack universal coverage and care is a financial burden for many citizens.

[Sorting Fact From Fiction on Health Care, WSJ, 8/31/09]

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