The failure of the U.S. health system to develop and deliver effective preventive strategies is taking a toll on the nation’s economy and society, according to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine.
To improve health outcomes and increase the quality of life for Americans, the report calls on the federal government to double its investment in the chronically underfunded public health system and to reform how the system is funded.
Despite its position at the top of the world’s economic superpowers, the United States is hardly a superpower in health, the report said. Though it spends more on health than other nations — almost $2.5 trillion in 2009 — the United States lags behind other wealthy nations in life expectancy, infant mortality and other indicators of population health. To improve health outcomes in the United States and keep up with global peers, the U.S. should transform the way it invests in health, the report said. It also said more attention should be paid to population-based prevention efforts and that the way in which public health funding is allocated, structured and used should be remedied.
To continue reading this story from the July 2012 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.