The US Healthcare System: Complex and Unequal

Abstract

Shaped by the institutions, ideas, and interests that drive American policymaking, the US health care delivery system is uniquely complex, costly, and unequal. Initially private, it has become an increasingly complex public/private mix, as incremental reforms adopted over many decades have sought to correct market failures to finance and deliver health care services to vulnerable populations, particularly segments of the low-income demographic. While successive reforms have led to better coverage and access over time, they are unlikely to lead to universal access due to their inability to reduce, or even contain, costs over the long run.

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Correspondence to Cheryl A. Camillo.

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Cheryl A. Camillo is an Assistant Professor at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) at the University of Regina. Prior to her appointment, she was a Fulbright Fellow at JSGS. She is an interdisciplinary scholar-practitioner with over 25 years of health policy experience, including as a mixed methods researcher, senior federal policymaker, and state program executive. Her research focuses on comparative health and social policies at the national and subnational levels of federal governments.

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Camillo, C.A. The US Healthcare System: Complex and Unequal. Glob Soc Welf 3, 151–160 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-016-0075-z

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Keywords

  • Public/private sector mix
  • Health care delivery systems
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Health care access
  • Low-income population