skip navigation
Support KUOW
Speakers' Forum

Atul Gawande: Real Health Care Reform

Jenny Asarnow
09/30/2010 at 8:00 p.m.

A major health care bill passes. Powerful organizations cry foul. They say it represents a government takeover of medicine and an attack on American values. Protesters amass on the White House lawn and write countless angry letters to the president. The year was 1965, and the bill was Medicare. It mandated desegregation in hospitals and blood banks around the country. Hospitals threatened not to participate and a state medical association boycotted the plan. But in the end, 90 percent of hospitals signed on and Medicare was a success.

Atul Gawande says today's protests against health care reform aren't the real threat to health care. The real problem is the cost of health care.

Atul Gawande is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He's an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and an associate professor in Harvard's Department of Health Policy and Management.

Gawande says health care costs could bankrupt America, and besides, the best care isn't the most expensive. He says the United States needs to take a complex — and localized — look at the problem, in order to figure out how to encourage hospital officials to keep their beds empty.

Atul Gawande spoke at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on May 3, 2010. Seattle Arts and Lectures sponsored the event.

Speakers' Forum Contacts
email icon speakers forum at kuow dot org