“American medicine is facing an identity crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic brought renewed attention to socioeconomic health disparities and turned up the heat on the question of whether health care is a right or a privilege. The financial strain on hospitals resulting from the temporary postponement of scheduled surgeries exposed a vulnerability caused by an inherently flawed payment system.
The answer to the right versus privilege question has much more significant implications than the resolution of a philosophical debate. It determines which economic model — that of a public good, a private good, or a common good — makes the most sense for the delivery of medical services. For health care to be what we want it to be, broadly accessible, with no socioeconomic disparities, and long-term affordability, it must eventually be recognized as a common good, with all of the economic implications that come with such a recognition.”
Tom Robertson is a health care economist.
He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, “Health care as an uncommon good.”
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Hosted by Kevin Pho, MD, The Podcast by KevinMD shares the stories of the many who intersect with our health care system but are rarely heard from.