The fundamental challenge facing all countries to delivering healthcare is balancing these three aspects: cost of care, access to care, and the quality of care provided. This is known as the iron triangle of healthcare. Unfortunately, the truth is that only two of these three areas can be optimized. For example, if a nation chose to provide high quality care to all, then the costs must be high as well.
If instead a healthcare system was designed to be low cost but give high quality care, access to care would need to be limited. Finally if a country wanted to have a low cost healthcare system with universal access, the quality delivered would not be high quality.
The US Healthcare Crisis
The healthcare crisis in America is particularly startling when you realize that the United States does the worst on all three aspects.
We have the highest cost per capita, don’t provide healthcare to all, and the health quality outcomes are the worst of the industrialized nations. It is expected that by 2016, healthcare costs will account for one of every five dollars spent. This is double the amount of what was spent a decade earlier and likely the same problems facing the country today will remain unchanged: Limited access, less than optimal care, and high costs.
Nevertheless within our country, there are many health plans, employers, doctors, and other organizations trying to reform our healthcare system. Time will tell whether they will succeed. Whatever healthcare reform will look like in our country, the solution will be uniquely American as many innovative ideas to problems often are.
Find out more about how you can survive the healthcare crisis and other vital information in Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely: Making Intelligent Choices in America’s Healthcare System.