By Shannon Brownlee, MSc
October 19, 2014
Anybody who has been following the travails of our dysfunctional health-care system can find plenty of reasons to criticize American hospitals. Many are grossly inefficient and tragically unsafe. They’re quick to deliver unnecessary procedures, so long as they’re profitable, and slow to implement less lucrative procedures, like making sure patients understand what they must do to care for themselves once they are discharged. And most of them, whether they’re for- or non-profit, charge increasingly outrageous prices.
But if there’s one thing our hospitals shouldn’t be dinged for, it’s being unprepared to take care of Ebola patients. Blame the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Congress and some people’s persistent belief that markets solve all ills and government intervention is unnecessary. At least, they hold that belief when it comes to diseases like obesity and heart disease, where any proposed government intervention is received with cries of “nanny state.” When a disease like Ebola appears, suddenly those folks yell, “Why hasn’t the government prevented this?”
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