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Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care Paperback – February 22, 2008
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"This is one of the most important books written on health care." -- Tyler Cowen, Professor of Economics, George Mason University, copublisher of Marginal Revolution.
I warmly recommend his book to general readers who want to understand what economics has to say about health care. -- Arnold S. Relman, The New England Journal of Medicine, September 2006 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
His book is clear, concise, and eminently readable; he writes in straightforward English prose, not economic jargon; he is modest, posing questions more often than he answers them; and he considers alternatives to most of the policy options he discusses. I warmly recommend his book to general readers who want to understand what economics has to say about health care.
- Arnold S. Relman, M.D., Harvard Medical School, writing in The New England Journal of Medicine [Full text of review]
"Crisis of Abundance is full of useful insights, the best being Kling's schema for understanding the value of medical care. Kling offers some innovative ideas on how to introduce more consumerism into health care. It is ideas like these that will move us toward a more market-based system of health care and save us from the disaster that is a single-payer system."
- David Hogberg, The American Spectator [Full text of review]
For a fresh analysis of health care, people ought to look to economist Arnold Kling's new book, Crisis of Abundance. Although it offers no easy villain-versus-hero narrative or solution to the challenges of funding health care, it diagnoses the problem with precision.
- Sally Pipes, National Review Online, President of the Pacific Research Institute
This is a lucid and persuasive book--one of the most accessible guides I have ever seen to what is wrong with our health care system and how we might fix it. People of all ideological persuasions will find it enlightening and helpful.
- Daniel Shaviro, Wayne Perry Professor of Taxation, New York University School of Law, author of Who Should Pay for Medicare?
Crisis of Abundance pinpoints precisely where our health care spending has gone wrong. An emphasis on high-cost 'premium medicine' of marginal benefit, coupled with consumers shielded from its cost, has left us spending more for less. But Kling does more than offer criticisms--he also offers solutions. It's the Back to the Future of healthcare economics.
- Sydney Smith, publisher of Medpundit
This is one of the most important books written on health care.
- Tyler Cowen, Professor of Economics, George Mason University, copublisher of Marginal Revolution --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Like Social Security, people are not given an incentive to save for the healthcare needs of old age and Kling recommends a tax-exempt account which, if started at age 30 with annual contributions of $1600 and 3% real interst, would accumulate to $100,000 by age 65. At that time the owner would buy a "rest of life" insurance policy for a $25,000 premium with a $75,000 deductible. Medicare is phased out gradually. Make sense? That's why you'll never seen a politician support it. They can only think in terms of government run programs -- the same government that gave us postal "service", Medicare, and a social security programs whose paltry returns would get a commercial annuity manager fired or jailed for pocketing contributions net of payments instead of paying them to a decedent's estate.
This is a great book to read in an election year when everyone has a solution to healthcare in America.
As for solutions to our problems, Kling does a good job of unraveling many of the claims made by single-payer advocates, most notably that they can control costs without reducing benefits.
And when it comes to his own solutions, I found them to be very sensible (although I think he deliberately keeps them general). For example, he proposes keeping the government involved in funding health care, but ONLY for the poor and chronically ill (unlike in its current form where it also funds the elderly rich). This idea is so sensible - and seems to appeal to those on both sides of the aisle - that I'm surprised we haven't already done it.
All in all, well worth the read. Even if you generally don't like libertarian solutions to today's problems, I think you'll find Kling's book very easy to read, with far less ideology than in most other books on anything as controversial as health care.
This book is smart and readable, providing the reader with a great overview of parameters to consider.