Detroit: Motor City to Medical Mecca?

Community Report
August 2010
Jon B. Christianson, Grace Anglin, Amelia M. Bond, Peter J. Cunningham, Gretchen Kishbauch, Hoangmai H. Pham

The challenges facing the Detroit metropolitan area’s health care system are intertwined with the challenges facing the community as a whole, including a declining and aging population; major suburban/urban differences in income, employment, health insurance coverage, and health status; and a shrinking industrial base. These realities affect all of the various components of the area’s health care system, shaping the ongoing changes in the financing and delivery of medical care. At the same time, as the Detroit area develops an overall strategy for economic renewal going forward, some envision the health care system as playing a major redevelopment role, to the point that “Medicine could possibly replace motors as the engine of Detroit,” according to a May 2010 National Public Radio broadcast. While this view may be overly optimistic, there is evidence of considerable vitality in Detroit’s traditionally strong health care system.

This Community Report is available at the National Institute for Health Care Reform Web site.