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The Brave New World of Health Care (Speaker's Corner)

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 075-7739051086
ISBN-10: 1555915108
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Editorial Reviews


"...a stark mirror up to an American society willing to steal from its children and bankrupt the next generation." -- Gary Hart, Former United States Senator from Colorado

"...instructive and provocative guide through the best and worst of a national crisis." -- Tom Brokaw, Anchor, NBC Nightly News

"Dick Lamm asks those tough questions—and comes up with some answers." -- Michael Dukakis. Former Governor of Massachusetts and Democratic Presidential Candidate

From the Publisher

Speaker's Corner Books is a provocative new series from Fulcrum Publishing designed to stimulate, educate, and foster discussion on significant public policy topics. Written by experts in a variety of fields, these brief and engaging books should be read by anyone interested in the trends and issues that shape our society.

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Product Details

  • Series: Speaker's Corner
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555915108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555915100
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,147,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Claire V. Brockbank on March 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
Health policy is often very intimidating to people without specific expertise. This is a shame because it affects each and every one of us. Former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm has written a concise, easy-to-read book that every thoughtful American should read - and then act upon.
Lamm takes his readers on journey through the American health care system. With the clarity of vision available to a former politician, Lamm takes on many of the myths of our health care system: 1) that it is not the best health care system in the world, by almost any measuring device ("a nation may have brilliant medicine but have a poor or inadequate health care system"); 2) that Social Security and Medicare have a ponzi scheme quality to them that will bankrupt future generations; 3) that the physician-patient relationship should not determine the course of health care in this country.
Lamm argues passionately for a more rational public policy with respect to health care - one that seeks to maximize the health of the public rather than maximize the health of each and every individual. Public policy must stand up for the collective good, even if at the expense of additional marginal health care provided to any given individual. He presses his readers to recognize that the question should be "how does a society produce health?" and that the answer is that the health care delivery system is only a part of the health agenda. The quest for a healthier society may be "best achieved in areas of social policy other than health care."
The solution lies in explicitly recognizing the role that rationing must play in a more effective and equitable health care system. A central component of this is recognizing that health care should not be viewed as a right.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Needell on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Richard D. Lamm, former three-term governor of Colorado, has written a thought-provoking book, which should be required reading for any American who pays taxes or who will some day get sick. America, some of its citizens often proclaim, has the "best health care system in the world." Not so, Lamm argues: our medical miracles are parceled out to certain segments of society while forty-plus million Americans lack basic health care. Public health statistics consistently show the US lagging behind other developed countries in terms of life expectancy and infant mortality. Lamm uses the data to support his contention in this book that "The time has come to ask--and answer--some hard questions about how American health care dollars are actually being spent and about what we as a society are getting for that expenditure."

Lamm should be commended for speaking forcefully and passionately on this subject. He addresses health-care rationing, allocation of public monies, the need for society to accept the inevitability of death, and the need for government to intercede in medical education (directing schools to train more primary care physicians as opposed to the preponderance of specialists we now have). The book is readable even for people unfamiliar with health care policy and economic theories. Numerous sidebars offer encapsulations of important concepts and statistics. He has a gift for explaining the conflict in easily understandable prose. He also leavens his harsh pronouncements with pithy comments, such as when he refers to former President Clinton's avowed goal of fighting all deadly diseases and writes,"What are we going to die of, rust?" His forthright voice makes one wonder how he ever got elected to public office.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Wilson Ashbach, MD, MBA on February 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Hard choices face the American people in their thirst for more and better health care. Gov. Lamm reveals these choices and the reality of health care financing in a passionate, yet erudite fashion, supporting his arguments with appropriate data. Gov. Lamm describes the inevitable conflict between medical ethics, with its focus on the individual; and social policy, which must focus on the good of all citizens. He outlines how we arrived at our current situation of 43+ million uninsured in a system that is technologically the most advanced in the world. Since the US currently funds about 50% of all health care cost, these are issues that should concern us all. The clear message is that Americans must both understand the drivers of increased health care cost and understand that the health of the nation is not necessarily improved by more health care. The message is of particular importance to baby boomers, who will be faced with the financial reality of a shrinking working population to support their appetite for health care. This is a provocative and challenging book that should be read by anyone interested in health care and public policy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. John Cohen on February 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Former Colorado Governor Lamm is a Democrat, but this book should be required reading for everybody, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. It is, fortunately, a really easy read. My major problem was stopping to write down quotable lines; just about everything in this book is quotable. Did you know, for instance, that many of our problems began when Otto von Bismark declared that workers should retire at 65, an age which we are still reluctant to change? It can't have been much of an issue in 1880, when life expectancy was 47 years; but a child born today can anticipate 80 years of life. When Social Security was introduced there were perhaps 30 workers for each retired person; now there are about 3, and when the Baby Boomers begin to retire in droves at the end of this decade, we will be in real trouble, because taxes on current earners go directly to support current retirees, and it is certain that Social Security (and Medicare) will be bankrupt unless we completely reform the system; a fact cautiously alluded to recently by Alan Greenspan (and greeted by the inevitable outcries from politicians and others in support of the status quo).
Lamm's theme is initially unpalatable but completely rational. He points out that our health care system is often compared favorably to Canada's: "We have the best, they come to the US for treatment." But the truth is, at its best ours may be the best, but on average, it's far from that; the World Health Organization says we're 37th out of 191 countries in terms of efficiency, what a health-care dollar buys. Canadians may have to wait longer for treatment compared to Americans, but all Canadians have coverage, and 43 million people in the US have no coverage at all. Gov.
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