Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal
Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus,
Virginia Commonwealth University.
The key facts regarding health care spending and universal insurance
have been rehearsed so often that most Americans know the tune by heart: with
the highest expenditures for health care in the world, the United States is
the only major developed nation lacking universal health coverage. Medical
students in my health policy course find this situation both incomprehensible
and outrageous. Universal coverage has so many obvious advantages (reduced
administrative burden, fewer personal bankruptcies, greater use of preventive
services, more appropriate use of the emergency department, decreased cost
shifting to private insurers by safety-net providers—to name just a
few) that even thoughtful attempts to rationalize the lack of universal coverage
can be quickly dismissed.
Ferris TG. Health Policy. JAMA. 2005;294(12):1556-1557. doi:10.1001/jama.294.12.1556-b