One of my early morning reads today gave me that boost and resolute motivation to keep looking for that perfect job out there and brought all these new ideas gushing forth. While Dayo Olopade’s piece in the NYTimes on the trials and tribulations of efficient health care in America vs. sub-Saharan Africa is definitely flawed (and so is this post), it does raise some interesting issues. There are so many factors which affect health care spending in the US and in developing countries. On one hand, you may have risk-averse physicians, fear of malpractice and the subsequent litigation, moral hazard on both sides of the hospital gurney, and the growing knowledge and preferences of patients. The list goes on. On the other hand, you have limited resources, possibly limited capacity, limited access, the potential for corruption, but also, the potential for innovation in the face of shortages.
So what can be learned from either side of the economic frontiers? Are they willing? Who will be the one to do it? Well, faced with constraint, it seems that cross-border learning is already being done; like Vermont and Massachusetts’ moves to legislate a single-payer health care system, as we do in Canada, to control the cost of health care spending. Those stakeholders might be fierce, but this shows that they can be controlled.
These islands of excellence in the efficient financing, allocation and delivery of health care resources are being built not only in the US, but also in the developing world. Perhaps Dayo Olopade might just have something brewing in her ideas. We’ll just have to see if anything comes of it.