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The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care Hardcover – October 9, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"David Gratzer is a practicing psychiatrist who combines firsthand knowledge of medical practice in both his native Canada and the U.S. with an independent point of view and a rare capacity for lucid exposition of complex technical material. . . If you want a well-written, interesting yet authoritative and thorough account of what is wrong with medicine today and how to cure American health care, this is the book for you."

- Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate, Economics (from foreword to The Cure)

"The Cure is a must read for all students of health care policy. Dr. Gratzer correctly diagnoses the U.S. health care system's problems and proposes workable solutions to fix them. His ideas will help reign-in costs while, at the same time, preserve necessary incentives for quality-of-life enhancing innovations."

--John F. Cogan, Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University

"David Gratzer's well written book should be in the reading list of anyone interested in health care reform. In five-sixths of the U.S economy, we look to markets as an organizing mechanism; in the one-sixth of the economy represented by health care, public policy has frustrated markets, with adverse consequences for cost, access, and quality. Gratzer's capitalist manifesto is a shot in the arm; with it, the much that's right with American health care can grow."

--R. Glenn Hubbard, Dean and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School; and former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

"The caduceus is an apt symbol for medicine, given the bureaucratic snake pit the American health care system has become. Dr. David Gratzer skillfully wields Occam's razor to shave away the Byzantine rhetoric and show us that the cure for health care comes in the simplest of formulas - free markets, less government meddling, and a healthy dose of capitalism."

--Governor Bill Owens, Colorado

"Dr. David Gratzer is uniquely qualified to diagnose and provide a treatment regimen for the US health care system's problems. In this book he performs this function for us, does it with his usual acumen and clarity. He leads us by the hand through the labyrinth of legal, institutional and regulatory events that brought to the point where, at least to some, we are in a health crisis that can only be solved by further movement away from the market and toward a universal centrally controlled system. He thoroughly debunks the notion we can improve the US health care system by becoming more like our neighbors to the North. After taking us there, he shows us why these same legal, institutional, and regulatory events are largely responsible for our predicament and that the popular solution of more of the same is not the answer. He convincingly demonstrates that the only way out is less regulation of, and more freedom for, the providers and customers of health care. This book should be read by anyone involved, or with the hope or potential to be involved, in determining health care policy."

--Tom Saving, Director, Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M University.

"Excellent addition to the emerging call for empowering patients rather than government bureaucrats with control of the health care dollar, written by someone with an expert view from the inside!"

--Scott W. Atlas, MD, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine

About the Author

David Gratzer, a licensed physician in the US and Canada, is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His research interests include Medicare and Medicaid, drug reimportation, and FDA reform.

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman authored the foreword to Dr. Gratzer's newest book, referring to him as "a natural-born economist." In The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care (Encounter Books, October 2006), Dr. Gratzer offers a detailed overview of American health care and makes the case that it's possible to reduce health expenses, insure millions more, and improve quality of care without growing government or raising taxes.

Dr. Gratzer is the author of Code Blue: Reviving Canada's Health Care System (ECW Press, 1999) and is the editor of Better Medicine (ECW Press, 2002), a collection of essays from leading health care thinkers in North America and Europe. He is often quoted across North America and is frequently invited to speak on health reform. He has debated Congressman Gil Gutknecht on drug reimportation at the American Enterprise Institute, has testified before Congress on the Health Care Choice Act, and has keynoted the Long Island Health Care Summit after Senator Hillary Clinton cancelled because of a scheduling conflict. Dr. Gratzer has written for more than a dozen newspapers and magazines and is a peer reviewer for numerous publications and organizations.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; 1 edition (October 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594031533
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594031533
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,904,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

172 of 239 people found the following review helpful By Gen. JC Christian, patriot on July 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
David Gratzer's "The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care" is perhaps greatest paen ever written to the one true religion: laissez-faire capitalism. It's a celebration of the triumph of the bottom line, an adoration of profit, and a joyous prayer of hope for the perfect orderliness of a soylent green society.

Over the last 30 years, we've stood in awe as we've witnessed unregulated capitalism's transformative powers. Where once our edible ecology lacked such keystone species as E.coli and salmonella, our meat, fruit, vegetables, and water have become veritable Edens for those precious pathogens. Where once financial regulation checked glorious greed and encouraged the unbearable ennui that comes with stability, our new, deregulated, economic environment has brought excitement to investing and incredible profits to those few deserving oligarchs who were most prepared with the connections to exploit the system to their advantage.

Now, David Gratzer and the insurance industry wants to do the same for health care. He's heard the complaints. He's read studies like the 2004 Commonwealth Fund report which looked at satisfaction in five nations. He saw that they found that U.S. Americans were by far the most dissatisfied with their health care system (over twice as dissatisfied as Canadians)and less likely to receive care because of cost (17% of Canadians vs 40% of U.S. Americans).

Yes, he's studied it thoroughly and has decided that the problem with the U.S. system is that it is not capitalistic enough. It needs to be deregulated like the food and banking industries. The problem isn't lack of access, it's about deciding who deserves what level of care--it's about rationing health care by one's ability to pay.
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65 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Man in the Middle VINE VOICE on November 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm surprised to be the first to review The Cure, but it's a good enough book to have a review even if it has to be mine. I read this last week, along with Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care, by Arnold Kling. I enjoyed them both equally, would recommend both as suitable introductions to understanding the problems of our current health care system and frequently-proposed alternatives.

The strong point of this book is that the author is licensed in both the U.S. and Canadian health care systems, and very familiar with both. Proponents of alternatives to our current system often seem to overlook the fact that all existing alternative systems also have problems, which cannot be improved by mere ignorance.

Combining this book's real world experience with the Kling book's hard-headed focus on economics provides much to chew over in the debates surely about to begin again in the U.S.
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41 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Doug on May 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care is an excellent resource on health care economics and the history of health care policy. The author is a free market economist, a physician and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. The research that went into this book has been endorsed by Milton Friedman (in the Foreword) so it should be of appeal to free market advocates.

Dr. Gratzer persuasively argues that the fundamental problem with U.S. health care is too much government regulation. To argue this, Dr. Gratzer first notes how the employer-based health coverage arose as an unintended side effect of a tax law, which allowed employers to write off health care expenditures for their employees. Moreover, Dr. Gratzer argues that both Democrats and Republicans have both essentially offered more government regulation as the solution to health care, which has not worked. The Democrats, such as the LBJ Administration, promoted enormously inefficient programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The Republicans, have promoted bureaucratic HMOs, which have led to similar large-scale inefficiencies.

Driving this point further, Dr. Gratzer greatly details the harmful economic consequences of government regulations in health care. For example, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) forbids hospitals from denying any patient for emergency care. The economic reality is that this leads to hospitals suffering economic losses by being forced to treat patients, regardless of if they can pay for the care, which ultimately leads to the closing of hospitals. Furthermore, insurance mandates, such as benefit mandates, rating mandates and bans on out-of-state insurance, restrict competition and lead to higher insurance premiums. Dr.
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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Il Padrone on March 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Cure does a good job of illustrating the diverse ways in which our health care system is inefficient and expensive compared to it's free-market alternative. The only problem, and the reason that I, as a hypercritical anal-retentive perfectionist, take off a star, is that Gratzer ironically could be more consistent in the application of those very principles, more organized in his argument, and more illustrative with examples. His whole discussion of the FDA, for example, for the most part argues within the framework of retaining the organization. But, as his reference to 'public choice' theory shows, he's aware that as long as the agency exists, it will have incentives to act less efficiently than free-market alternatives, one example of which would be, as he mentions, the Underwriter's Laboratory with electrial devices, which works well. More concrete examples of the utter wastefulness of the third-party payment system would also help the reader understand how consumer lack of motivation is probably the biggest cause of skyrocketing costs. Also, he ignores as a formal point, although he mentions in passing, the huge suits and judgements brought and allowed against various hospitals, pharmaceuticals, and other health groups that motivate them to engage in CYA testing across the board, thus also raising prices.
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