Six health-care demands

Six: Congressional Hearings and Continuous Learning for Health Decision Makers

If you were to test the bureaucracy that pays for health care and the bureaucracy that regulates health care on the state of the arts in medicine, you would almost certainly find tremendous gaps in understanding. Similarly, if you examined the members of Congress and their staffs who have oversight of health issues you would find very fragmented understanding of the potential breakthroughs.

There are more scientists in the world today than in all of prior history combined. These scientists get better computers and better laboratory equipment every year. As they connect to each other all over the world, new discoveries spread with remarkable speed. Continuous learning will be essential for anyone trying to make decisions on health policy or to manage health outcomes. The American people must insist that public servants stay abreast of these changes.

Congressional hearings on the potential breakout may be one of the right kinds of venue for this learning. In the early 19th century, congressional hearings and reports played a surprisingly large part in opening up the West to settlement. In the 21st century, they could educate our leaders and the country about the breakthroughs that will help America break out.