In Health Care, Lessons for Obama on Rating Colleges

It was the early 1980s, and the nation's health-care system was in crisis. Costs were soaring, and hospitals and other providers were being blamed for the increase. Policy makers were questioning the quality of the nation’s health care, and the medical profession had lost some of its political clout.

In an effort to rein in costs and improve outcomes, the federal government began compiling data on hospitals’ mortality rates and sharing them with contractors that were