The United States has a great health-care system, even with its flaws. But we have a chance to make it better with federal reform.

As a physician who’s been part of the health-care system for years and sees it from the inside day after day, I believe reform is sorely needed. The debate about reform has been loud and sometimes harsh, and not always clear about the facts.

Much of what is being proposed is beneficial, and may help to control costs, such as the expensive practice of defensive medicine and controls on medical malpractice.

Access to care, so important with physician shortages, will improve as we invest in primary care. And the physician-patient relationship will benefit, too, as the administrative barriers that physicians now fight through to ensure patients get the care they need will be removed. We have made strides in Massachusetts and we can do the same on a national level.