Legislation Alone Is Not Enough

David Sarcone

By David Sarcone, associate professor of international business & management

The American health care system is considered the world's best when measured by its ability to manage seemingly intractable medical challenges on a case-by-case basis. The daily performance of the American system, however, is less spectacular. It is characterized by uncertainty of purpose, inequities, inefficiencies and variability in quality, as evidenced in today's fragmented financing and delivery mechanisms.

The state of the American health care system is not simply the failure of the public sector but results from multisector weaknesses and failures ranging across the health care value chain. The provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, especially those that respond to access-related inequities, move our society toward the goal of equitable and efficient care. But the legislation alone will not get us there.

Given the scope of the needed reform, success will only be achieved through meaningful cross-sector collaboration. Each collaboration partner must agree on the seriousness of the national issue, trust their partners and be willing to champion the overall value of reform over individual benefits accrued from participation in reform efforts. Given the tone of today's public discourse, achieving these intermediate objectives may be the most difficult part of moving toward equitable and efficient care for all.

 Read more faculty commentary on the Affordable Care Act.

Published October 8, 2013