At what point in time can we continue to cut costs and expect the quality of healthcare in the United States to remain as good as it is? I've always been told that there has been a balance between quality, price, and satisfaction. The relationship is that you can have two of the three but not all three. So as we continue to cut costs, ergo price, which of the other two are we going to let go? Thoughts?
A brilliant inquiry.
Currently the US spends around 17% of its GDP (gross domestic product) on healthcare; this is more than the percentage spent on pensions, defense, education and welfare. In fact, the US has the second highest healthcare expenditure in the world (second to East Timor). This trend has seen a steady increase since the 1970s, and its exponential growth has not been significantly deterred since then. Unless a dramatic cost containment mechanism is implemented, economists and statisticians predict that the US will spend almost 20% of its GDP on healthcare by 2017 [Howard L. Smith, Myron D. Fottler and Borje O. Saxberg. Cost Containment in Healthcare. The Academy of Management Review Vol. 6, No. 3 (Jul., 1981), pp. 397-407]. Further, without intervention, healthcare costs have the potential to bankrupt the country. That being said, I have two points to cover regarding your inquiry.
The aforementioned point is a good one: healthcare requires a balance between quality, price, and satisfaction; while all three are sufficient for a successful healthcare system, only two are necessary conditions. I will argue without reservation that quality of care is a first and foremost priority, and must be a gauge against which the other two are measured.
The philosophy of ensuring quality health care exists at the most local levels of healthcare delivery, the medical professional. The goal of quality healthcare delivery ought to penetrate every level from the medical professional to the healthcare organization to the state level and finally the federal level. Given my adamancy for quality, we must place either cost or satisfaction on the scale, ...
The points which can continue to cut costs and expect the quality of healthcare in the United States to remain as good as it is is determined.