Various measures of the health status of the population of the United States show there is considerable room for improvement. Compared with other industrialized nations, we are spending more for health care but our health is worse. These data form the basis for setting national priorities. Four selected policy issues are discussed, including access to medical care, maternal and child health care, the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and long-term care. Examination of these issues leads to the conclusion that universal and affordable health care is the major national health priority, requiring a commitment by the people of the United States and its leaders to develop a viable solution.