During this election year, one issue keeps coming up: the state of the health care system in this country. It is in disarray.
The cost of health care in the United States is rising rapidly.
Some people believe rising health care costs are an issue only for big businesses that provide benefits to thousands of employees, retirees and their dependents. But it's much more than that.
It is a challenge for everyone - for big business, small business, nonprofit organizations, health care organizations, insurers and government at all levels.
All kinds of organizations provide health care benefits to employees and retirees.
Individuals are affected directly through higher premiums, higher deductibles and co-payments, inadequate insurance or, in many cases, no insurance at all.
Health care costs, as a percentage of gross domestic product, are higher in the United States than in other Western countries. Yet, according to the World Health Organization, our quality of care on average is ranked only 37th in the world. Our life expectancy is lower than that of some countries that spend less.
It is difficult to understand why we pay more when we aren't necessarily getting healthier and we don't live longer. High costs are not translating into better quality care.