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Health Care Policy After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Educational Objective
To understand how health care policy will change during the post-COVID-19 world
1 Credit CME

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will end sooner or later as all pandemics do. Even though the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, like many other viruses, may linger, it will no longer be an existential threat. Neither the reason for the end, nor its timing, is clear now, but it is not too soon to begin discussing postpandemic health care policy.

To simply return to the prepandemic health care system during a presidential election year would be a mistake. This is a time to think more boldly about the future of the US health care system. The health care system is dysfunctional for many individuals in the US; it is too costly, too unequal, and too uncertain in its eligibility and coverage, with an increasing number of uninsured. However, designing and implementing a better health care system will not be easy. In exploring the challenges and difficulties ahead, it is useful to distinguish between those that are primarily technical issues (although these are not exempt from politics) and those that are political obstacles to significant reform.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Victor R. Fuchs, PhD, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University, 366 Galvez, Stanford, CA 94305 (vfuchs@stanford.edu).

Published Online: June 12, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.10777

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
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Shoven  JB , Fuchs  VR . Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research policy brief: the dedicated VAT solution. Accessed June 4, 2020. https://siepr.stanford.edu/research/publications/dedicated-vat-solution
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Emanuel  EJ , Fuchs  VR .  A Comprehensive Cure: Universal Health Care Vouchers. Brookings Institution Hamilton Project; 2007.
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Joynt Maddox  KE , McClellan  MB .  Toward evidence-based policy making to reduce wasteful health care spending.   JAMA. 2019;322(15):1460-1462. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.13977PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Machiavelli  N . Chapter 6. In: The Prince. Accessed June 4, 2020. http://www.online-literature.com/machiavelli/prince/6/
5.
Fuchs  VR .  Does employment-based insurance make the US health care system unfair and inefficient?   JAMA. 2019;321(21):2069-2070. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.4812 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Chidgey  J , Leng  G , Lacey  T .  Implementing NICE guidance.   J R Soc Med. 2007;100(10):448-452. doi:10.1177/014107680710001012 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Pew Research Center. Political typology: government’s role and performance, view of national institutions, expertise. Accessed May 28, 2020. https://www.people-press.org/2017/10/24/4-governments-role-and-performance-views-of-national-institutions-expertise/
8.
Berwick  DM .  Choices for the “new normal”.   JAMA. 2020;323(21):2125-2126. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6949 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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