The Marblehead Rotary Club hosted Dr. Tim Johnson at its September 26 meeting for a thought- provoking talk about America’s health care system, its costs, and some thoughts for reform.  Dr. Johnson, a Marblehead resident, is well-known as “America’s Doctor” for his many years reporting on medicine and healthcare for ABC News and Good Morning America.

Dr. Johnson noted that we are all awash in a tsunami of misleading facts, political posturing and caustic catchphrases calculated to scare so we don’t think about the underlying issues.  He said his goal was to provide the information needed for us to talk straight about our healthcare system’s current problems and possible fixes.

He described a number of factors that have driven US healthcare costs higher and faster than other developed countries without better outcomes -- the decline of primary care doctors, our fee for procedures payment model, the role of insurance and its high administrative costs, the impact of new technology on expectations and cost, malpractice, and the media, among others.  Dr. Johnson also talked about the VA, Medicare, and Federal Employees insurance programs, and the possible impact of broader-based single-payer systems, and/or insurance exchanges.  He described his worries about the expanding cost of our current system if we don’t start to make true reforms now.

Club members walked away from this very interesting talk with a much greater understanding of how our health care system works or doesn’t, and some possible reforms. (To learn more of Dr. Johnson’s views, you can read his recent book, “The Truth About Getting Sick in America – The Real Problems with Healthcare and What We Can Do.”

The Marblehead Rotary Club meets weekly at the Boston Yacht Club, 1 Front Street, Marblehead, MA on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. Guests and all Rotarians are welcome! For more information about the Club, please contact its Secretary, Julie Livingston at:


Photo legend: (from left): Marblehead Rotary Club President Geoff Loynd; Stephen Bach, the host for Dr. Johnson’s visit: and Dr. Tim Johnson.