The Corner

Health Transformation

I applaud the president for his decision to look at solutions which will reform our broken health care system. However, bureaucrats have tried health-care reform before without much success. I believe there must be the commitment to fundamentally and completely transform our health-care system to provide better health at a lower cost.

Our health-care system focuses too much on providing “sick” care instead of enhancing health of Americans. There are thousands of needless deaths and injuries which are tolerated in today’s system. These deaths and injuries can be prevented with an investment in and commitment to health information technology.

No other segment of our economy is so fragmented, so paper-based, and so deliberately uncoordinated. We need to encourage providers to embrace health IT and create better solutions which focus on wellness, prevention, early detection of diseases and the aggressive management of those disorders once they have been diagnosed. We need individuals to recognize that they are a partner in their own healthcare. It all starts with the individual — before he becomes a patient.

At the Center for Health Transformation, we believe health starts with the individual. However, as the new government appears to be gobbling up more health-care policies, it should recognize there are fundamentals to which it must adhere.

Medicare and Medicaid must support efforts to develop incentives for excellence in health and health care. The government needs to provide individuals with quality and price information so they can make wise and informed decisions about various healthcare services and procedures. It is critical to align incentives at the consumer level so the system rewards those wise and informed decisions which help keep us healthier longer. The government must stop wasteful government spending and rampant fraud. Our goal should be to take back our money from the crooks who defraud the system, rather than taking it from the American taxpayers. Health IT can accomplish this with lightning speed.

– Newt Gingrich is former speaker of the House and founder of the Center for Health Transformation.

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