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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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Corresponding Author: Victor R. Fuchs, PhD, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University, 366 Galvez, Stanford, CA 94305 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: June 12, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.10777
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
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