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March 17, 2020

Health Care Is a Right and Not a Privilege

Author Affiliations
  • 1Dr Bauchner is Editor in Chief and Dr Fontanarosa is Executive Editor, JAMA
JAMA. 2020;323(11):1049. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.0891

The US will elect a new president in 8 months. Voters in the election will need to consider many issues in selecting their preferred candidate. Among the most important issues is the future of the US health care system. Several options have been proposed as part of the current political landscape, including expand the current system, adopt a single-payer model, or retreat from recent reforms, once again leaving more individuals without health coverage. Embedded in these discussions is the cost of care, which increased to an estimated $3.6 trillion in the US in 2018, about $11 000 per person, with increasing amounts of administrative complexity, out-of-pocket spending, surprise billing, high-deductible health care plans, the relentless increase in the cost of drugs, and concerns about waste in the health care system.1-3 At the same time, life expectancy in the US has declined4 and concerns have been raised about how to maintain innovation and the extraordinary advances of care that have occurred in the last decade.