How a Bank in Bangladesh Can Inspire Change in U.S. Healthcare

Recent articles from TIME, the New York Times and scholarly healthcare journals have cast light on the high costs within the U.S. healthcare system and why one of the most developed countries has such a problematic healthcare model. According to a contributed article in The Financial Times, the United States can rectify its problems by looking at other foreign models.

Muhammad Yunus penned the op-ed on ways to improve U.S. healthcare. Mr. Yunus is the founder of the Grameen Bank, a community development bank in Bangladesh that won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for its work to help reduce poverty.

He wrote that health systems must be "designed with the specific needs of the poorest people in mind," but the U.S. healthcare system is focused on expensive resources, costly hospitals and lucrative tests and treatments.

Mr. Yunus said in Bangladesh, his bank helped establish clinics for the poorest of the poor — families making $2,000 per year or less. People pay $3 per year for access to the clinic and heavily discounted care, which fully funds the nonprofit clinics. In addition, they are staffed mostly by nurses and community health workers. Physicians only perform procedures and other medical tasks that other healthcare professionals cannot provide.

"If we consider new models, using technology to rethink and redesign healthcare, costs need not continue to rise," Mr. Yunus wrote. "In fact, they could drop, becoming affordable to even the poorest. We need to do for healthcare what microlending is doing for banking: revolutionise [sic] an industry stuck in old ways."

More Articles on U.S. Healthcare:

Study: Immigrants Contributed $115B Surplus to Medicare
What the U.S. Can Learn From Healthcare Delivery Overseas: Q&A With Harvard Business School's Regina E. Herzlinger
Price Transparency: Why It's an Issue & Where Hospitals Fit in

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