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Medicare Meets Mephistopheles Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1930865921 ISBN-10: 1930865929

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute (August 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930865929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930865921
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,977,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"One need not agree with Hyman's critique of Medicare to see the merit of expressing pro-market criticism in easy-to-read satire. What's more (and unexpected), you can learn more about the relevant history of this important program in this book's clear account of its origins, structure, and financing than in scholarly tomes or the impenetrable babble of descriptions of Medicare's current reforms. A useful volume for Medicare backers as well as detractors." -- PROFESSOR TED MARMOR, Yale University, author of The Politics of Medicare

"I'd happily recommend [the book] to anyone with a basic grasp on health care and a desire to learn a bit more about Medicare. Hyman is a felicitous and fun writer, and he conveys an impressive amount of history and data in as accessible and absorbable a manner as one could hope. I know how tricky it is to make health care a quick and gripping read, and I tip my hat to anyone who is capable of enriching the debate and educating readers by doing so." -- EZRA KLEIN, The American Prospect

"Medicare is the single largest threat to limited government in my lifetime, and Medicare Meets Mephistopheles is the best book I have ever read on the subject. If you have ever had anything to do with Medicare, you will see yourself in this book." -- WILLIAM A. NISKANEN, Chairman, Cato Institute

"David Hyman breaks the mold by presenting the history and dismal future of Medicare with a combination of humor and persuasion. This book is a must read for anyone who is serious about understanding the coming entitlement crisis. Hyman's reward in the hereafter will be great." -- THOMAS R. SAVING, Public Trustee of Medicare Trust Funds and Director, Private Enterprise Research Center, Texas A&M University

"David Hyman proves that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. That road is a highway dubbed Medicare, and Hyman demonstrates that our good intentions are hastening our journey. He even offers some ideas for voiding our pact with the devil. Whether you ultimately agree or disagree with Hyman's philosophy, this is a fun and challenging read!" -- PROFESSOR LARRY J. SABATO, Director, University of Virginia Center for Politics, author of Divided States of America

"The book does a great job clarifying some complex Medicare law--the glossary and primer on Fraud and Abuse Laws alone are worth the purchase price." -- FRANK PASQUALE, Associate Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School, writing at

"A slim volume that revels some eternal - and perhaps internal - truths about America's version of the welfare state. Readers will remember Hyman's book every time a speaker at a conference remarks that 'the devil is in the details.'" -- PROFESSOR WILLIAM M. SAGE, University of Texas Law School.

About the Author

David A. Hyman is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and a professor of law and medicine at the University of Illinois. Hyman serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Law & Medicine.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd Hyman on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Professor David Hyman has used the seven deadly sins to serve up an easy to read description of the Medicare mess. His satirical approach is both amusing and on target. I think this small volume is required reading for both the layman and the expert. The book supplies a historical perspective, and provides a useful focus on the Medicare problem areas. I think this focus and fact driven perspective is essential, if the nation is to make any progress confounding Mephistopheles.
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Format: Paperback
No ordinary survey, MEDICARE MEETS MEPHISTOPHELES takes the form of allegory, and is written as a memorandum from an underling demon to the devil himself. Devilish details demonstrate Medicare's pitfalls and the foundations that only undermine honesty and encourage greed and profiteering. In using satire as a vehicle for analysis, Hyman provides a biting analysis easy to digest.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By roustabout on May 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
I see the Cato true believers think this is a wonderful book. And it is well-written, so long as one is prepared to ignore the elephant in the room: How much would it cost to provide healthcare to this, or any, population under a Cato-endorsed program?

Until the day when I see the Cato institute suggest that corporations should not have individual rights as do people under the Constitution, and in particular that their accounting should be open to public scrutiny by anyone for any reason rather than shielded by the fourth and fifth amendments, I will know that Cato is still uninterested in free markets. Free markets cannot exist without transparent access to information.

In the specific case, we could compare the cost of providing care to those 65 and over via Medicare, a single-payer program with good enough reimbursement rates that health plans actively recruit new Medicare enrollees, with the costs of providing health care to the 55-65 year old population who are working within the marketplace for insurance. In order to make the comparison, we would need to have accurate information from three large groups of players whose real accounts are currently invisible to us: the insurers, the hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry.

To the extent that aggregate date exist, they indicate that 55-65 year olds pay far more per capita for healthcare than Medicare will pay per capita on their behalf once they are eligible; that even with that disproportionate cost, a large fraction have no access to insurance and another large fraction have very high co-payment rates for physician visits, inpatient care and medicines.
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