Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Fact and Fiction: Debunking Myths in the US Healthcare System

Sarpel, Umut MD*; Vladeck, Bruce C. PhD; Divino, Celia M. MD*; Klotman, Paul E. MD

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e318159d566
Feature
Buy

The United States has the most expensive and complex healthcare system in the world. Despite the magnitude of funds spent on the system, Americans do not achieve the high standards of health seen in other developed countries. The current model of health insurance has failed to deliver efficient and effective healthcare. The administrative costs and lack of buying power that arise out of the existing multipayer system are at the root of the problem. The current system also directly contributes to the rising number of uninsured and underinsured Americans. This lack of insurance leads to poorer health outcomes, and a significant amount of money is lost into the system by paying for these complications. Experience from other countries suggests that tangible improvements can occur with conversion to a single-payer system. However, previous efforts at reform have stalled. There are many myths commonly held true by both patients and physicians. This inscrutability of the US healthcare system may be the major deterrent to its improvement. A discussion of these myths can lead to increased awareness of the inequality of our healthcare system and the possibilities for improvement.

The United States has the most expensive and complex healthcare system in the world. Despite the magnitude of funds spent on the system, Americans do not achieve the high standards of health seen in other developed countries. Experience from other countries suggests that tangible improvements can occur with conversion to a single-payer system.

From the *Department of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York; †Office of the President, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey; and ‡Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York.

Reprints will not be available from the authors.

Address correspondence to: Umut Sarpel MD, 5 E. 98th St., 15th Floor, Box 1259, New York, NY 10029-6574. E-mail: Umut.Sarpel@mountsinai.org.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.