Critical Condition

An Untreated Problem

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill entered the health-reform debate in an op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times. Channeling Betsy McCaughey, he points out that the health plans being discussed in the Beltway will do nothing to address one big problem in U.S. health care: hospital-based infections. This is because such changes come from leadership and commitment at the local level, not legislation and regulation at the national level. (Indeed, Medicare still hasn’t really figured out how to reward innovative physicians and hospitals who significantly reduce infections, which is likely a reason for the lack of a “race to the top.”)