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Who Killed Health Care?: America's $2 Trillion Medical Problem - and the Consumer-Driven Cure 1st Edition

43 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071487801
ISBN-10: 0071487808
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Editorial Reviews


"Regina Herzlinger's impressive and accessible Who Killed Health Care? offers insights that could lead to real progress. She sets forth a world in which insurance companies compete on quality, product design and disease management--not on ability to attract healthy consumers. Entrepreneurs would create integrated disease-management systems that profit from excellent and effective service, saving patients' time and providing coordinated care for all aspect of a condition." New York Post 20070709 "Mrs Herzlinger is America's leading advocate of market-driven, consumer-orientated health reform. She wants a national system which requires individuals to buy health insurance, with help in the form of tax breaks for all punters, and subsidies for the poorest. She wants insurance prices to be risk-adjusted and hospitals to be free to charge what they like so they can offer new services as the market demands. Most importantly, she wants the government to demand transparency of price and quality from this notoriously murky industry."-The Economist The Economist 20070705

From the Back Cover

Doctors. Parents. Citizens. Employers.

They're all ready for the cure to America's health care crisis:


“ A brilliant analysis…a must read.”-Bill George, Professor, Harvard Business School and former CEO of Medtronic

“As it becomes more and more obvious to everyone that our current health care system is unsustainable, this is the book that had to be written.”-Daniel H. Johnson, Jr., MD, former president of the American Medical Association

“Regina Herzlinger's ideas to tackle the crisis of the U.S. health care system are based on a keen knowledge of the system's existing difficulties along with insights that introduce the reader to new streamlined choices that have the potential of getting both quality and cost under control.”-Joseph Kennedy, founder, chairman, and president, Citizens Energy Corporation, CEO, Citizens Health Care, former representative (D-Mass)

“Regina Herzlinger...offers a vision of the way things can be, should be, and will be sooner or later. The only question is: how long do we have to wait?”-Greg Scandlen, founder, Consumers for Health Choices

“Regi Herzlinger has brilliantly articulated a better way-embracing the principles of competition and innovation that cause every other sector of our economy to thrive.”-U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla), MD

“Following on the heels of her landmark Market-Driven Health Care, Herzlinger lays it on the line with her exposé of what many who work in the health care industry have felt in their gut. Now it is articulated in an entertaining and must-read portrayal, with you and me as the only way out.”-Dennis White, executive vice president for strategic development, National Business Coalition on Health

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071487808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071487801
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Regina E. Herzlinger is the Nancy R. McPherson Professor of Business Administration Chair at the Harvard Business School. She was the first woman to be tenured and chaired at Harvard Business School and the first to serve on a number of corporate boards. She is widely recognized for her innovative research in health care, including her early predictions of the unraveling of managed care and the rise of consumer-driven health care and health care focused factories, two terms that she coined. Money has dubbed her the "Godmother" of consumer-driven health care.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
According to information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 24, 2007, about 43.6 million people in the United States, or 14.8 percent of the population, had no health insurance in 2006. The finding, based on a survey of 100,000 people, is lower than previous federal estimates of 46 million. The estimate is based on those who did not have insurance at the time of the interview. About 54.5 million people in the country, or 18.6 percent of the population, had no insurance for at least part of 2006. Whatever the exact numbers, there is obviously a very serious problem with health care provision in the U.S. In fact, dozens.

In her previously published book, Consumer-Driven Health Care, Regina Herzlinger explains that consumer-driven health care is "fundamentally about empowering health care consumers - all of us - with control, choice, and information." Such control will "reward innovative insurers and providers for creating the higher-quality, lower-cost services we want and deserve." What would be the role of government? She asserts that "government will protect us with financial assistance and oversight, not micromanagement." The material in this substantial volume is organized within five Parts. Herzlinger wrote the first, "Why We Need Consumer-Driven Health Care," then edited the contributions by others that comprise Parts Two-Five. She also wrote Chapter 78, "A Health Care SEC: The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth." For most of us who are not health care professionals, this volume provides about as much information as we could possibly need, much less process. I especially appreciate the fact that Herzlinger and her associate contributors make a conscious effort to avoid jargon, vague theories, oblique hypotheses, etc.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on June 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Herzlinger begins by telling us that she was spurred to write this book after a tax exempt hospital chain (Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health Systems) testified before Congress of the "need" to limit competition from specialty hospitals - "would undermine it's ability to provide care to the uninsured." Unfortunately, the effort was successful in achieving a moratorium, even though the system only provided $5 million (at overstated prices) prior to the moratorium, and then cut that to $3 million afterwards. (A 2004 congressional comparison of non-profits and for-profits concluded that non-profits, on average, provided only 0.6% greater uncompensated care.)

Since 2000, health insurance premiums have risen 73%, vs. inflation and wages increasing 15%. Herzlinger blames:

1) hospital consolidations (# dropped 20% from 1970-2005) - usually without cost rationalization of duplicated costs, aimed simply at reducing the number of competitors. In addition, hospitals have attempted to further reduce competition by buying physician practices.

2)Bureaucratic HMOs and insurance companies, along with their high-priced CEOs.

3)Government: States sometimes limit the number of insurers and the variation in their offerings; meanwhile, the federal government meddles by providing incentives for certain treatment modes

Herzlinger's Recommendations:

1)Provide tax-free grants, adjusted to reflect an individuals' health status (eg. a 55-year-old male with diabetes would be given the average cost of treating such an individual). The individual would be free to save whatever was not spent - would not need to be spent in that year, though could only be spent on health care.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G. Palmisano on November 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Twenty years ago on a cold November night, I was one of two nurses called into the operating room were the team preformed a c-section and delivered a healthy baby boy. While waiting for the mother to recover, I picked up a copy of JAMA in the doctors lounge, there I found an article authored by some PHD entitled: Stop the Charade. It was the authors contention if we made all the non-profit charter hospitals in the country for profit the government would save enough money (eliminating the tax subsidies) to buy every American health care insurance.
Twenty years later author Regina Herzlinger MD PHD echoes this same strategy combined with other comprehensive solutions for curing the health care debacle infecting our nation. In her book: Who Killed Health Care. Dr Herzlinger identifies the culpable players who have brought havoc upon us; government bureaucrats that exorcise legislative powers to manipulate markets, technocrats who employ statistics to homogenize variables into one size fits all diagnoses, and industry lobbyists, special interest peddlers who know how to oil the system with campaign contributions.
Dr. Herzlinger provides a compelling argument in favor of consumer driven health care. She has cut through the complexity of this out of control industry identifying the problems and offering competent solutions to put healthcare back in the hands of consumers, physicians and health care professionals.
Meet Jack Morgan and follow his tragic demise. Learn how our bloated bureaucratic health care system failed him, and how his needless death could have been avoided. Learn how consumer driven health care could have enhanced his quality of life and saved him. Dr.
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