2017 Alumni Colleges Cover Range of Topics

The Future of Healthcare in the U.S.

Despite the national focus on the flaws of the American healthcare system, Art Jones ’67 offered a more nuanced understanding of the topic with his presentation. “The Future of Healthcare in the U.S.: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” in which he critically evaluated healthcare through the distinct yet interwoven lenses of science, economics and politics.

Before delving into this complex and multifaceted debate, Jones handed out an extensive bibliography of his sources, encouraged each member of the audience to seek out “multiple sources from multiple views” and emphasized one of the underlying themes of his talk: “Perspective and perception are important.” Indeed, political leaning often influences what constitutes a good healthcare policy.

Art Jones ’67 discusses the U.S. healthcare system. Photo: Steve Jacobs

Jones briefly identified “the good” in our healthcare system: precision medicine. This approach to disease treatment and prevention is extremely individualized, taking into account the variability in each person’s environment, genetics and lifestyle for personalized care. As remarkable as this may sound, “the bad” in U.S. healthcare frequently eclipses precision medicine’s benefits.

It’s no secret that the astronomically high costs of healthcare are continuing to rise, but Jones contextualized this knowledge even further. “We spent $3.2 trillion on healthcare in 2015. We’ll pass the German economy in healthcare expenditures in the next few years,” he explained.

But it gets worse. Not only do we have the most expensive medical care system in the world, but we also are ranked 28th by outcomes, meaning that the U.S. healthcare system provides “worse-than-average outcomes for 15 out of 23 different indicators.”

Jones admits that there is no perfect system, but there is still hope. “How do we control costs? Keep people as healthy as possible with preventative medicine and public…

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