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“Out Of The Blocks”: Meeting The Challenge Of Transforming Health Care

December 11th, 2012

No other presidential election in American history has been freighted with such significance for health care as was last month’s vote. Uncertainty over the future of health policy dominated the discourse, and we all waited with bated breath for clarity from the voters.

Thirty-six days ago, we got just that. In one night, much of the uncertainty that had marked the past few years faded into history.

But now we all face a different and urgent kind of uncertainty — a pressing question: How, with this newfound certainty in the policy environment, can health care stakeholders best move forward on problems of high costs and suboptimal quality, of poor coordination and preventable medical error, soon enough to meet the social need?

Time is running out to find answers. Health care costs, much of them waste, continue to climb, and too many patients are not getting the high-quality care they need. If we do not act — and act quickly — to transform health care, we will face blunt cost cutting and declining access and quality, particularly for the poorest among us.

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