By Carol C. Nadelson and Howard Corwin
The New York Times, Letters, Oct. 31, 2014
The Ebola crisis could be a test case for health care management on a national scale. It may provide an extraordinary opportunity to improve the adequacy of our national health care.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after its initial failure, swiftly mobilized to meet a public health emergency threat. It coordinated communication to all health care facilities, standardized education for health care personnel and created protocols for improved quality of care in emergency situations.
It has demonstrated that scientifically informed rather than politically tinged state efforts are effective. Just as with national defense, only a coordinated, unified response by the federal government is capable of meeting such an emergency.
Fortunately such a model is translatable not just for medical emergency situations, but to all levels of medical care. The Affordable Care Act remarkably has had the foresight to focus on prevention and public health as well as individual treatment.
Ebola has focused our government’s role in the delivery of health care. We can implement universal single-payer health care insurance that incorporates the A.C.A.’s principles of preventive medicine and public health by expanding Medicare, a proven high-quality, reliable insurance delivery system.
Not only would this improve the nation’s health care, but through its effectiveness and savings, it could also be a stimulus for improving the health of the economy.
Dr. Nadelson is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and past president of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Corwin is a retired clinical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.