If you’re expecting the upcoming Presidential and Congressional elections to make a big difference in the US health care system, you are going to be disappointed. I don’t think the candidates health care proposals would do all that much to resolve the key issues of cost, quality, patient safety, access and customer service. As Kaiser Family Foundation’s Drew Altman has written, it’s not even a sure thing that health care will be a major issue in the general election campaign nor that the new President and Congress will take major steps once sworn in. There will be a tremendous challenge in assembling a majority for anything significant. Indeed the most likely outcome is a simple reauthorization and modest expansion of SCHIP, a program for kids.
I’d like to suggest that entrepreneurs and private industry more generally are underappreciated assets in the health reform debate –and that just possibly some entrepreneurs are already in the process of helping the country turn the corner on key dimensions. If that’s ture, the role of policymakers –and voters– becomes clearer and more achievable: to create the conditions under which entrepreneurs can thrive.
Here are a few examples of what I mean. These companies, big and small are poised to make a difference. I’ve organized them according to the key “issue” they are tackling, though some are addressing more than one. In future posts I’ll explore these themes in greater depth, including the policy changes that could make the companies below even more successful in effecting change.
Customer service (or “experience”)June 5, 2008