Health Challenges for the 21st Century

Author
Joshua Lederberg, Margaret Hamburg, Stephen Morse, Philip R. Reilly, Timothy Wirth
Content Type
Working Paper
Institution
New York Academy of Sciences
Abstract
A crisis usually eliminates the time required to focus on the long-term: The urgent tends to drive out the important. Over the past several years, public policy perspectives on health care have often suffered from such myopia. In the United States, and in many other countries around the world, spiraling costs and shrinking budgets have focused health policy attention on perceived near-term crises over the allocation of (often public) resources. Because public resource allocation involves tax dollars, and because voters feel personally affected by changes in health services, the controversy enters the political arena. Moreover, politics itself is a very near-term business, with the ballot box and polling data providing its primary compass. In turn, this has added to the tendency to think of health care challenges in terms of immediate needs and to focus on the moment rather than on the consequences of today's changes in tomorrow's complex patterns.
Topic
Economics, Government, Science and Technology
Political Geography
United States, America