Friday Roundtable: Health care in a imperfect world

Kerri Miller's Friday Roundtable on health care.
Kerri Miller's Friday Roundtable on health care. Her guests, from left to right, were Dr. Rajiv Shah, Dr. Archelle Georgiou and Stephen Parente.
Stephanie Curtis | MPR News

The cost of health care is often the focal point of any health care debate in the U.S. — and it's for good reason.

The United States spends more money on health care than any other developed country in the world, according to the World Bank.

The Journal of the American Medical Association predicts that by 2020, spending on health care in the U.S. will exceed the amount of Germany's economy as a whole.

However, that focus rarely shifts to a discussion on value, despite evidence that Americans aren't necessarily getting the most bang for their buck.

America has high levels of chronic illness, obesity, and infant mortality. It also has a relatively low life expectancy compared to other wealthy countries.

This year could be a major turning point in American health care.

House Republicans released The American Health Care Act earlier this week. Their plan largely overhauls the Affordable Care Act put in place by the Obama administration.

While Republicans and Democrats struggle to reach a consensus on the best way forward, MPR News host Kerri Miller lead a roundtable discussion with three health care professionals about what they would like to see addressed in the ongoing health insurance debate.

Stephen Parente is the Chair of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota. He said the nuances of health care and insurance are not being discussed.

"It should be part of American civics today to learn about [insurance]. If it's one sixth of our economy, if it's the biggest reason this country will go bankrupt, to not have it discussed is honestly not a part of something a civilized society should do," Parente said.

Dr. Archelle Georgiou, of the Carlson School of Management, agreed and pointed out another aspect missing from many conversations on healthcare: "The issue of personal responsibility is glaring absent from the ACA and glaringly absent from any other proposal that is laid out by the Republicans."

Additionally, Dr. Rajiv Shah, founder of MyMeds, noted that the healthcare community extends beyond doctors and patients to pharmacists, nurses, other care providers, parents and friends.

"I think the future of health care is the team-based approach," he said.

This conversation was recorded in the UBS Forum in front of a live audience of health care students and professionals on Feb. 28. A version of this discussion was condensed for time on the air. You can hear the full version in the player above.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.