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Healthy Competition: What's Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It, Paperback – October 10, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute; 2 edition (October 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933995106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933995106
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,007,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
The health care debate has reached a new crescendo in America as of late. It is due to the rapid escalating costs of health care while the quality of health care has had some noticeable decline in some areas. Currently, health care insurance is very expensive if you have to purchase it without an employer or some sort of government assistance: Health care premiums have slowly moved beyond the reach of more and more Americans. Additionally, the looming financial crisis in Medicare as baby boomers start to retire will require some sort of large scale reform.
Michael Cannon and Michael Tanner make a convincing and articulate argument for less government intervention in an industry that is surprisingly dominated, directly and indirectly, by the federal government: They tease away the layers of state mandates, federal regulation, onerous FDA oversight and overall bureaucratic waste that bloat the cost of health care in America. Cannon and Tanner proceed to elucidate the reform needed to stem the rising tide of cost while improving the general quality of patient care. Most of the reforms involve an overhaul in federal tax codes, expansion of HSA programs, eliminating the monopoly that the FDA enjoys and many others. This book is well researched, revealing and logical. Please note, there is quite a bit of technical information and a trove of statistical data in this book. It reads a bit like it was written for policy wonks or academics but still very accessible to the layman.
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A well written argument for consumer-driven healthcare and good insights into the excesses caused by government intervention in healthcare financing. Predictably the government run programs that were launched in the Lyndon Johnson "Great Society" programs in the mid-60s have exceeded their spending projections ten-fold from where we were told they would be today. These have made the US more of a welfare state than many welfare states, but it proves that if you give something away, like healthcare, you get to give a lot of it away. The latest massive expansion of Medicare into a drug benefit is the biggest open air theft of the incomes of future generations than any goverment program to date. The authors embrace a free market solution in which healthcare is bought like everything is bought: look at the price, look in your pocketbook, and decide if it's a good value. I recommend reading a companion Cato Institute book by Arnold Kling: Crisis of Abundance.
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Format: Kindle Edition
"Healthy Competition" by Michael F. Cannon and Michael D. Tanner of the Cato Institute is a critically important book for both those interested in health care policy as well as for every American as we all eventually consume health care services.

Cannon and Tanner's book starts with a foreword by the Hon. George P. Shultz: "We begin with a riddle. What country's health care system offers the best health services in the world, is consistently criticized for not being accessible enough, and yet is so accessible that overutilization is leading to runaway costs?" The answer is, of course, America.

The following 147 pages offers a detailed analysis of what's wrong with American health care (government and insurance industry policies that lead to overuse of medical services) and what's right (the strong remnants of a free market system that encourages innovation, high quality, at an often lower cost). Both detailed and heavily footnoted, but also very readable at the same time, "Healthy Competition" strikes the right balance between a dense academic paper and a clarion call for action.

In concluding the book, Cannon and Tanner write:

"Despite its marvels, America's health care sector continues to present troubling symptoms: excessive costs, uneven quality, a lack of useful information for patients and providers, extraordinary waste, and enormous burdens for future taxpayers. An accurate diagnosis points to too much government influence and too little choice and competition. Proposals to increase the role of government would aggravate these symptoms. More subsidies or controls would drain from the medical marketplace even more of the dynamics that drive other sectors of the economy toward lower prices and higher quality.
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