Health and Science

If you're in banking, retail, you don't tolerate what we have in health care today, doctor says

Key Points
  • It's less about who pays for insurance coverage today and more important what is delivered, Dr. Robert Pearl, author of the book "Mistreated," tells CNBC.
  • Pearl discusses the many uncertainties that remain in the Republicans' proposed American Health Care Act.
  • Today's patient delivery system is broken, the doctor argues, with hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths happening every year.
Half a million people die every year from preventable disease: Permanente Medical Group CEO

When it comes to health care, few Americans can obtain what they need today, and this results in mistreatment — deaths even — of countless patients, Dr. Robert Pearl, CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, which is part of managed care consortium Kaiser Permanente, told CNBC.

"The current delivery system is broken," Pearl said Thursday on "Power Lunch" as the GOP-backed health-care bill was being debated ahead of a highly anticipated vote by the House of Representatives.

Pearl recently published a book on this topic titled, "Mistreated: Why We Think We're Getting Good Healthcare — And Why We're Usually Wrong."

Whether the Republicans' health-care bill becomes law or not, the key is maintaining coverage for all individuals, including those with pre-existing conditions, Pearl said of the proposal.

House Republicans, meanwhile, passed along to the Senate their latest version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Thursday, an amended version of a proposal that failed to be voted on in March in the face of opposition from both the party's conservative and moderate wings.

"At this point there's still so much uncertainty ... we're not sure if [state] subsides will be maintained," for example, Pearl said, referencing the countless unknowns that remain surrounding the health-care replacement bill's passage.

"Neither [Obamacare] or AHCA does much to change the delivery system, and we've got to get the delivery system better so patients avoid diseases, and care must become more affordable," the doctor added.

Today's health-care system is "completely nontransparent," to patients, Pearl argues.

"The solution will be integration (both horizontally within specialties and vertically between primary care and specialty care and outpatient and inpatient), capitation (prepayment), modern technology (comprehensive electronic health record, secure e-mail and video) and physician leadership," Pearl has said.

If you were in banking, finance or retail, "you wouldn't tolerate what you tolerate in health care today."

Read: Republican Obamacare replacement bill passes House