Episode #105: The Need to Overhaul US Healthcare Payment, with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel
Welcome to episode #105, Season 4 of Creating a New Healthcare. Today we welcome one of the most prolific and influential healthcare policy experts of our era. Professor Ezekial Emanuel is the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Co-Director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a Special Advisor to the Director General of the World Health Organization. Dr. Emanuel was the founding chair of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health. From January 2009 to January 2011 he served as a Special Advisor on Health Policy to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the National Economic Council. He is also a breast oncologist, having earned his MD at Harvard Medical School, completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, and then completed an oncology fellowship at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where he was also appointed as faculty. Dr. Emanuel has written and edited 14 books and over 300 articles, and is the world’s most cited bioethicist. He is a frequent contributor to the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, and regularly appears on television and radio.
In this episode, we’ll touch on the following:
The fragility of the US employer-based healthcare payment system and how the COVID-19 pandemic is nudging us to a universal payment system.
The differences between a universal payment program and a single payer system.
An illustration of a capitated primary care trial demonstrating the advantages to providers and patients.
What the US can learn from other advanced nations in terms of primary care access and healthcare payment reform.
The multi-pronged solutions that Dr. Emanuel recommends to address the insidious institutional racism and the inequities that are embedded in US healthcare delivery
I believe it was H.L. Mencken who said that there are often simple solutions to complex problems, and those simple solutions are typically wrong. Dr. Emanuel does not offer simple solutions to the complex problems in our healthcare system. Instead, he offers thoughtful, studied, and ethical solutions that directly and realistically address the fundamental flaws in our healthcare system. These are serious flaws that leave tens of millions of Americans with no or sub-optimal health insurance, limit access to preventive primary and specialty healthcare for tens of millions of Americans, and create perverse and unethical incentives for providers and health systems that greatly inhibit them from delivering the type of healthcare they would like to offer.
Dr. Emanuel is one of the most cited healthcare policy scholars and advisors of our era, as well as one of the most prolific researchers and authors. He is one of the finest healthcare educators and thought-leaders our country has ever produced. It is well worth our time to listen to and study the critically important lessons he is teaching us.
Until next time,
Be safe and be well.
Zeev Neuwirth, MD