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The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care Paperback – Illustrated, March 20, 2008
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- Item Weight : 14 ounces
- Paperback : 250 pages
- ISBN-10 : 159403219X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1594032196
- Dimensions : 5.28 x 0.71 x 8.08 inches
- Publisher : Encounter Books; Illustrated edition (March 20, 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,737,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The author's thesis is that the U.S. health care system is in such shambles because of the way the system is designed. The current system prevents the free market to function like any other sector of the economy. The solution is more choice, more competition, and fewer regulations.
One of the key problems is the way health care is paid for--it is treated less as insurance and more as pre-paid healthcare. For example, you don't insure your car for routine maintenance but mainly for high cost and catastrophic accidents. For routine maintenance, you pay out of pocket based on a consideration of price and quality of an auto repair shop. The same should apply to health care.
The author argues persuasively that a routine visit to a doctor should be paid for by the patient, whereas an operation would be paid for by a high-deductible insurance policy. The patient would be able to pay for routine visits through their own health savings accounts. A shift to this paradigm will bring down costs for everyone and make health care more affordable.
The author also provides solutions to the problems and rising costs with Medicare and Medicaid which are both going broke. He offers solid solutions there, but it's hard to see the politicians going for them.
For those that want to educate themselves on how to fix the health care system, this is a must read.
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. Gratzer also thoroughly analyzes the harmful economic consequences of the FDA, Medicare, Medicaid and much more.
This book also dispels many common myths about the quality of U.S. health care. For example, statistics are often cited to argue that Canadians and/or Europeans have higher life expectancies than U.S. citizens. Dr. Gratzer argues that such studies mistakenly compare statistics on *health* when they should be on *health care*. There numerous lifestyle habits that differ between cultures, such as frequency of exercise and diet, which effect health. Dr. Gratzer proposes examining statistics on cardiac arrest patients, to see which country offers better treatment. In these respects, Dr. Gratzer argues that the U.S. system is clearly superior to its universal health care counterparts.
As one can infer, Dr. Gratzer proposes free market solutions to fix American health care. Specifically, he proposes drastically reducing the various regulatory excesses that he delineates throughout his book as well as embracing Health Savings Accounts. As always, Dr. Gratzer corroborates his arguments with real-world success stories, such as the success of Whole Foods' adoption of HSAs for its employees.
I highly recommend this book to all fans of free market capitalism with an interest in health care policy.
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.