Those designing the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JPMorgan health care company must emphasize preventive medicine. Second, a reasonably priced system is one that focuses only on essential care. Modern health care systems deliver a range of services, but they also typically offer more than is necessary. For example, many systems in Europe are integrated into the welfare system, an approach that raises expectations about which services should be provided. By using different models of strategic purchasing and cost sharing, and by being more transparent about which services are covered, users could more accurately align their expectations with reality. Any new system that eliminates unnecessary care and focuses on what is really needed for patient wellbeing would also be more reasonably priced. Finally, those designing the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JPMorgan health care company must emphasize preventive medicine. Today, some of the world’s most common killers – such as cardiovascular illnesses and certain cancers – are preventable... As technology advances, doctors will be able to diagnose and treat these diseases even faster. To be sure, preventive medicine is not easily incorporated into health care strategies, which is why OECD countries typically don’t spend
significantly on it. In fact, many countries allocate more to administration than to disease prevention and wellness initiatives. But it is undeniable that early diagnosis reduces overall treatment costs, and if future health systems are to be priced fairly, they must integrate health promotion. No matter what becomes of the proposed health care company, the very fact that corporate America is considering this type of intervention will resonate around the world. Even if the effort is only partly successful, the money saved is likely to encourage further innovation. © Project Syndicate
Björn Ekman is an associate professor of health economics at Lund University in Sweden.
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