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Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care Paperback – February 22, 2008
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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
- 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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Even if you normally don't read "public policy" books, you should make time for this one. It will give you a solid foundation for evaluating what politicians and pundits say about the healthcare crisis and all the different fixes, both good and bad, that will be offered for your support.
Anyone who wants to understand the healthcare crisis in the U.S. would benefit by reading this. The author is an economist, and the book is clearly told from an economic and public policy perspective. His goal was to write this book for the "concerned citizen," while at the same time making it credible to professional economists (p. ix). I rank this book lower than most other reviews because I believe the author partially fails in his attempt to write this book clearly for the concerned citizen.
He makes the point that what ails our national health care system is what he calls "premium medicine" -- or health care spending whose cost exceeds its benefit. He defines "premium medicine" as: "frequent referrals to specialists; extensive use of high-tech diagnostic procedures; and increased numbers and variety of surgeries" (p. 4). "If our high levels of health care spending are the result of so-called premium medicine, we should be demonstrably healthier. Yet when we attempt to examine average longevity at a national level, there seems to be no connection between American's high levels of health care spending and life span." (p. 25)
I found the book most difficult when the author was presenting policy issues. Kling states that his goal is "not to offer a package of solutions. It is to raise the level of understanding of the realities, issues and tradeoffs pertaining to health care policy" (p. 95). Here, for this reader, he succeeded. I now have a far better grasp of why the U.S. spends so much more on health care than other developed nations.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great contribution to those of us following data and information on health care costs and their implication. Must readPublished 7 months ago by Adnan A. Khan
This book was good to get an understanding of the current thinking about health care. The biggest problem is that the thinking needs to come out of the dark ages. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Orchid
I read this book in late 2010 - after the passage of Obamacare. The book is clearly written and helped me understand the issues driving health care costs up. Read morePublished on November 16, 2010 by Amazon Customer
I have read several books on the US health care "crisis" in the last six months. Crisis of Abundance is by far the most valuable. Read morePublished on July 1, 2010 by TRowe
This is the best source for understanding the health care I have come across. The book does a great job exploring the complexities of the health care problem and the inevitable... Read morePublished on December 26, 2009 by HVeinott
In an effort to get up to speed on healthcare economics, I purchase Victor Fuchs' Who Shall Live?: Health, Economics, and Social Choice (Economic Ideas Leading to the 21st Century... Read morePublished on July 17, 2009 by E. Husman
Having been chasing the Health care debate for 15 years, and participating almost as long, I have to say that I was basically underinformed in the past. Read morePublished on July 15, 2009 by Aretae
I'm reading this book on the Kindle (and writing this review from the Kindle, also). The content is well-presented and mostly understandable to a noneconomist. Read morePublished on March 2, 2009 by M. Chesebro
It's not as easy of a read as I expected but I believe that it is inciteful and accurate.Published on October 18, 2008 by Amazon Customer