The way we respond to obesity and related chronic disease in the U.S. is like waiting to send every adult to night school to learn English -- painfully, poorly, expensively, and late -- rather than having them grow up speaking fluently all along.
Either the country can provide a lot of people a little bit of insurance coverage or provide a few people very generous coverage for treatment. We cannot have widely-available and generous health insurance.
To people like me, who are from abroad, the American debate has often seemed bewildering. How could you not want to find a way to provide affordable care to citizens? In the US, of course, the system is enormously complicated and entrenched.
The U.S. pharmaceutical industry has worked hard to become an international leader in the production of biotech drugs. But as the nation introduces these medicines, we need to ensure that safety protocols are in place -- so that every patient has the opportunity to get healthy.
There are innovative solutions already at work in communities across the country. There are very smart clinicians, hospital administrators, policy-makers, business executives, and community leaders who are fighting to rescue the system.
With an anticipated shortage of 65,000 physicians by 2015 and 32 million new Americans acquiring health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we are seeing the numbers that don't add up.