The issue of health care reform crops up regularly, then disappears—but now it may have a foothold, writes Karen Tumulty in Time. That’s because the focus of the issue is on the current system’s huge cost to everyone. Much of the spending may be unnecessary, and a consensus seems to be emerging: President Obama’s budget chief, Peter Orszag, notes four components of reform we can agree on.
- Health-information technology needs a push. Hardly any hospitals have “comprehensive electronic-record systems” that improve tracking of care and results.
- Comparative-effectiveness research—”drug A vs. drug B vs. some procedure,” rather than drug vs. placebo—must be implemented.
- Providers should be paid based on care quality. Currently, they can benefit from a “botched surgery” resulting in hospital readmission.
- “Prevention and wellness” must carry financial incentives: “It’s much cheaper not to get sick in the first place,” Tumulty notes.