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Reflections from Alice Rivlin: Covering America-Still Relevant and Insightful in 2009

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Publication Date: March 2009

Publisher(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Author(s): A. Rivlin

Topic: Health (Health care planning)

Type: White Paper


For at least two decades millions of Americans have complained about the inadequacies of their health delivery system for at least three reasons. First, the quality of care, while sometimes excellent, is variable and frequently poor. Many patients receive ineffective and sometimes harmful treatment. Second, health spending is greater in the US than in other countries and rising rapidly. On the current trajectory health care will soon equal 20 percent of total spending in a very few years. Third, millions of Americans have no health care coverage or very inadequate coverage. They often go without treatment or seek it late (and expensively) in emergency departments.