Best Care Anywhere

Why VA Health Care is Better Than Yours
Jan. 1, 2007

The long-maligned Veterans Health Administration has become the highest-quality healthcare provider in the United States. This encouraging change not only has benefited veterans but also provides a blueprint for salvaging America’s own deeply troubled healthcare system.

Best Care Anywhere shows how a government bureaucracy, working with little notice, is setting the standard for best practices and cost reduction while the private sector is lagging in both areas. Author Phillip Longman challenges conventional wisdom by explaining exactly how market forces work to lower quality and raise prices in the healthcare sector, and how U.S. medical practices have a weak basis in science.

Longman's research and conclusions stem neither from ideology nor politics. When his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he was forced to confront the inefficiencies, inadequacies and uncertainties that are an all too familiar part of health care in the world's richest country. Thus, when he was assigned by Fortune Magazine to figure out who had the best solution for America's health care crisis, he eagerly accepted. Fortune declined to publish the results of his research.

This story of how and why VA became the benchmark for quality medicine in the United States promises to shift the terms of the debate about health policy in America. He argues that precisely because the VA is a big government bureaucracy with a near-lifetime relationship with its patients, it has incentives for investing in prevention, disease management, electronic patient records, and other quality measures that are lacking in for-profit medicine.

The book, expanded from Longman's widely praised article, which ultimately appeared the Washington Monthly, mixes hard facts with the compelling human story of the loss of his wife to cancer. Part manifesto, part moving memoir, Best Care Anywhere offers new hope for addressing a major problem of contemporary society that affects all of us.

Launch Event for 'Best Care Anywhere'

A book launch event for Best Care Anywhere will be held May 4 at the New America Foundation. Please click here to learn more and to sign up to attend.