The foundation of the U.S. healthcare system is faulty, and the consequences have become inescapable (Committee of Quality of Health Care in America, 2001). We are first among nations in spending on healthcare, whether measured in absolute dollars, per capita expenditures, or proportion of our national budget. Yet our citizens are the least healthy in the developed world. (Anderson & Hussey, 2001) Our nation's healthcare system is simply not a high-quality system. This shortfall is serious enough to cause tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths each year and to compromise our capacity for further economic growth (Anderson & Hussey, 2001; Anderson, Frogner, Johns, & Reinhardt, 2006; Macinko, Starfield, & Shi, 2003), yet it ramifies into so many of our political, financial, and social institutions that change is difficult and fraught with serious unintended consequences.
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