Two Harvard Medical professors critique our current system and offer a better vision


Universal Health Care

Even with its dazzling technical advances and sophisticated medicines, health care increasingly frustrates Americans. Patients must contend with a system that won’t pay for some treatments, long waiting lists, rushed visits with doctors, copious paperwork and — of course — the ever-soaring cost of medical coverage and medications. Many doctors and nurses feel trapped in a structure they say sometimes prevents them from providing adequate care to their patients. One couple, both researchers at Harvard Medical School and both internists practicing at Cambridge Hospital in Massachusetts, are leaders in the movement among medical professionals to reform health care in America.

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler and Dr. David Himmelstein lead a campaign by doctors to reform health care which they see as needlessly expensive and corrupt. Together they founded Physicians for a National Health Program in 1987 which aims for a system where everyone is covered. They decry the soaring costs of health care — and how that hurts poor people who are uninsured — and many in the middle class who are under-insured. The doctors pull no punches in describing what they see as enormous waste in health care expenditures.

A National Public Radio program produced by David Freudberg, host of “Humankind,” Human Media / The Network Inc.