Four HSPH experts highlight the importance of social values, politics, organization, and economic considerations to health system reform in a new book, Getting Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity. Published by Oxford University Press, the uniquely multidisciplinary "repair manual" takes reformers step by step through the complexities of patching up and replacing broken systems.
"The world is littered with failed reform efforts," observes Marc J. Roberts, one of the quartet and a professor of political economy and health policy. But given the enormous needs, notes his colleague, Peter Berman, professor of population and international health economics, "We have no choice but to do better."
Despite what the United States spends to stay healthy--about $1.5 trillion a year, more than any other nation--this country ranked 37th among Western nations in one 2000 World Health Organization report that factored in quality and disparities in care among the insured and uninsured. When you consider that 2.8 billion people--more than half the population of all developing countries--live on less than $2 a day, you get an inkling of how little people in, say, Tanzania or Honduras have to spend on medical care, let alone prevention. If a wealthy, stable country like the U.S. can't provide good health services to all its citizens, what can resource-poor countries hope to accomplish?
See Getting Health Reform Right for the complete story.