NU Online News Service, Jan. 14, 2004, 6:03 p.m. EST – The United States should strive to enact some type of universal health care by 2010, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine, Washington.[@@]
The institute, a private, non-profit organization that advises the government on health care issues, says the lack of health insurance in the United States has become a critical problem that can and should be eliminated.
The institute does not recommend any specific path to universal health care in its report, saying that is beyond its purview.
However, it says any proposed solutions should be judged by several guiding principles.
- The coverage must be truly universal, covering everyone living in the United States.
- Coverage must be continuous, because gaps in coverage can lead to diminished health.
- Coverage should be affordable for individuals and families.
- Coverage should be affordable and sustainable for society, meaning there must be mechanisms to control inflation and encourage use of cost-effective services.
- Coverage should enhance health and well-being, by promoting access to high-quality care that is effective, efficient, safe, timely, patient-centered and equitable.
The institute notes that 4 prototype strategies have been proposed to achieve universal care.