Loss of public trust is 'existential threat' to healthcare, report says

Many hospitals and health systems may be struggling financially, but consumers often see a sprawling, profitable and "self-serving" industry that fails to improve life expectancy and imposes debt on thousands of households across the country, Paul Keckley says in his weekly report posted Oct. 16.

Such impressions are backed up by polling showing a steady decline in public confidence in healthcare over the past three decades, according to the report.

Lawmakers and regulators are now picking up increasingly on such public dissatisfaction with health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers as well as so-called middlemen such as suppliers and distributors, Mr. Keckley writes.

"U.S. healthcare faces an existential threat: the loss of confidence and trust that the system is fair and more concerned about its profit than patient care," he writes.

There are good and bad actors in healthcare, and no one entity owns the moral high ground even though some actors believe and act like they do, Mr. Keckley writes.

There is no one united vision about how to solve the nation's dysfunctional industry, but such a vision is desperately needed.

"Until and unless a shared vision of the future of the U.S. health system is created, confidence and trust in the system will continue to erode and options for its future [will remain] severely limited," he writes.

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