In the current debate on health care reform, much of the focus has centered on expanding insurance coverage or improving medical care once illness has occurred. The UCLA Blue Sky Health Initiative, headed by a team of doctors, researchers, health care practitioners, business leaders, financiers and others in both the public and private sectors, proposes systemwide solutions designed to improve the health of society as a whole and make illness less common, less severe and less expensive to treat.
Neil Halfon is director of the Child and Family Health Program at UCLA, co-director of the federally funded Maternal and Child Health Policy Research Center and a member of the Child Health Consortium.
Arleen Leibowitz, professor of public policy, is an authority on the relationship among health care policy, economics and patient decisions.
Mark Peterson, professor of public policy and political science, has written extensively on congressional responses to presidential legislative initiatives and the ways in which presidents use their relationships with interest groups to promote their political and programmatic agendas.
· Nearly 46 million Americans lack health insurance, and 80 percent of them are in working families.
· In the next decade, health care inflation is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 6.9 percent, outpacing general inflation and economic growth.
· Each year, U.S. health care expenditures approach $2 trillion, far more per person than in Switzerland, Germany, Canada and France.
· Studies demonstrate that 54.9 percent of adults and 46.9 percent of children are not receiving the care recommended by national and professional standards and policies.
· The United States has the third-highest rate of diabetes, the third-highest rate of cardiovascular disease and the highest rate of obesity among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nations.
· Among all nations in the world, the United States ranks 46th in life expectancy and 42nd in infant mortality.
· A study by the Institute of Medicine concludes that nearly 100,000 Americans die each year from medical mistakes in hospitals.