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It is very hard to know where the health care system will be or what it will look like in ten years. This is largely because of the degree to which this is a political issue and the extreme difficulty of predicting American politics at this point. I would imagine, however, that the health care system will be in the middle of major changes aimed at reducing costs.
One way or another, both sides of the American political spectrum want lower health care costs. Conservatives want to achieve this by creating more competition among insurance companies. Liberals want to achieve it by creating government programs like “Obamacare.” While they disagree on means, both sides do want lower costs because costs are out of control at this point.
Therefore, I foresee that, in ten years, we will be moving towards a lower-cost system. This will be a system in which consumers are more aware of the costs of their health care. It is one in which health care procedures will be more like other services; we will know what they cost and will pick the sorts of care that we want with an eye on those costs. We will also have less of the “fee for service” model that we now have where doctors have an incentive to order up tests and procedures that are not really necessary. In these ways, I expect that health care will change and will move towards greater affordability.
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