The Quality Cure

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People in the U.S. spend more on health care than people anywhere else in the world. A lot of them — especially the politicians — think that’s a problem. But David Cutler doesn’t. He’s an economist who thinks that spending more to live longer and survive diseases that used to kill off previous generations is a good thing.

Instead of focusing on cutting costs, Cutler says that fixes to health care should focus on improving quality, squeezing more value out of health care dollars, rather than spending fewer of them.

But since America already spends 15 percent of its gross domestic product on healthcare, many say the country must pay attention to the bottom line, especially when so many people don’t have insurance and few in Washington seems committed to finding ways to give it to them.


David Cutler, professor of economics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for Social Sciences

James Mongan, President and CEO of Partners Healthcare, Boston

Roger Lowenstein, contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.