Dear friends and colleagues,
This is a watershed moment for the U.S. healthcare system. Costs continue to climb, tens of millions of Americans lack insurance, and there is unacceptable variation in quality. Politicians from across the ideological spectrum are proposing potentially far reaching policy changes. Some of the proposals are promising; too many others seem fraught with danger. After 25 years as a researcher, teacher, and policy analyst, I continue to be disappointed by the lack of basic understanding of health economics among those who are most vocal about effecting change. No one has done more to shape my thinking about the links between economics and policy than my friend and colleague, William White, who is the director of the Sloan Program in Health Administration at Cornell University’s School of Human Ecology. Over the past two decades, we have had long conversations about virtually every aspect of our healthcare system, from the rise of HMOs in the 1980s to current trends in consumer driven healthcare.
Will and I have decided to put our conversations into a blog and share them with our friends at Kellogg and Human Ecology. We have even asked some of the nation’s top economists to take a look. We will respond to the best of your comments as time allows. We promise not to grade them!
There is a lot at stake in the upcoming years. We hope that this free exchange of ideas can help bring about positive change in our healthcare system.
Walter McNerney Distinguished Professor of Health Industry Management
Kellogg School of Management