Health Reform -- What's Old is New Again

Policymakers discussing reforming the U.S. health care system might find a 1994 Annals volume a useful reference.

Drs. Margaret Hamburg, Joshua Lederberg, and Kenneth Shine

The debate over reforming the U.S health care system is raising expectations that after decades of discussion, Congress finally will pass legislation to expand access to care while controlling costs and improving quality.

This is the second time in 15 years that reform has been a hot-button topic. So researchers and policymakers engaged in this latest debate might take a few lessons from the last round of health reform discussions -- including an Annals volume that focused on the need to assure quality of care while addressing critical questions of access and costs.

A number of the nation's leading authorities on medical practice addressed this issue in the volume Beyond the Crisis: Preserving the Capacity for Excellence in Health Care and Medical Science. Authors included now-FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg; the late Nobel Laureate Joshua Lederberg; former Institute of Medicine President Kenneth Shine; and a dozen other top clinicians, researchers and policy experts.