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Hospitals and health professionals should be held responsible for tough infection-prevention policies that target the spread of infections regionally and across state lines. And they should be paid to provide such services, which protect the public but are expensive. Policymakers should also provide incentives for drug companies to be aggressive in developing new drugs to replace those that are rapidly becoming useless. Such investments would magnify our efforts against superbugs and pay off in the form of greatly reduced spending.
HAIs and antibiotic resistance arent the only ailments of the American health care system, but they are the lowest-hanging fruit that benefit patients and cut health care costs. Addressing this problem should be an easy decision for Congress and this administration.
Ramanan Laxminarayan, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a senior fellow at Resources for the Future, an independent Washington think tank whose Extending the Cure initiative develops policy solutions to extend antibiotic effectiveness. Ed Septimus, M.D., is medical director for infection prevention at HCA Healthcare System, the nations largest private provider of health care services.