Tech­no­log­ical improve­ments in health care have given us the quality of life we enjoy today. But chronic con­di­tions, end-​​of-​​life care, and an aging society will bank­rupt the United States if it doesn’t make dra­matic changes to its health care system. America — and many other coun­tries — need an auda­cious goal to get off the unsus­tain­able path.

What if the United States set itself the goal of cut­ting health­care costs in half — without sac­ri­ficing quality, and in about a decade?

Sound undoable? In “Deliv­ering World-​​Class Health Care, Afford­ably,” we argued that some Indian hos­pi­tals are deliv­ering high-​​quality care at 5% to 10% of U.S. prices. Of course, the United States is not India, so its costs will always be higher. But even with all the con­straints, cut­ting U.S. health­care costs in half is not pre­pos­terous. After all, it’s been done in other indus­tries, some­times in less time (think com­puters or con­sumer electronics).

Or take the example of autos. When Karl Benz intro­duced the Mer­cedes Benz in 1876, each car was hand­made from start to finish. Every cus­tomer was assumed to be unique and so was every car. Making autos was a craft, and very few people were skilled enough to put one together. Buyers vis­ited the Benz fac­tory and stayed for a week to test drive the car and fix any bugs before taking delivery. The net result: The craft approach pro­duced only a few auto­mo­biles at extremely high cost for the very rich.

Read the article at Harvard Business Review →