Lots has been written about how high health care costs in the US are, and how mediocre outcomes are relative to those high costs. The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More Is Getting Us Lessoffers a new way of looking at the issue.
Health reform efforts have emphasized health insurance and medicine, sidelining social service programs like nutritional support and housing assistance — programs that can be influential for keeping people healthy andproducing health, instead of just reacting when people fall ill, like the health care system often does.
Ignoring the social side of health is a problem, and it's a problem that's been plaguing the United States for decades.
Elizabeth Bradley, a professor at Yale University, and Lauren Taylor, a Presidential Scholar at Harvard Divinity School, examined this at length in their book. I spoke with the authors about the issues they see in the current system, what lessons we might draw from other nations, and what policymakers should think about next.
What follows is a transcript of our conversation, edited for clarity and length.