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About Kenneth A. Fisher
Dr. Fisher has been the program director for two internal medicine residencies and two nephrology fellowships and has published several scientific papers on nephrology along with many articles and a chapter regarding health policy. Dr. Fisher was also a consultant nephrologist in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the Medical Director for the Free Clinic in Kalamazoo from 2007 till its closing in 2010. He is the author of "In Defiance of Death: Exposing the Real Costs of End-of-Life Care," Praeger, Westport, Connecticut, 2008, and "The Ten Questions Walter Cronkite Would Have Asked About Health Care Reform," (2011) a free e-book available at: www.drkennethfisher.com/The10Questions.pdf along with this book, "Understanding Healthcare: A Historical Perspective."
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Dr. Fisher provides the reader an in-depth understanding of how we got into this controversial, overly expensive, exceedingly complex and bureaucratic healthcare system and ends with a comprehensive solution delivering the promise of personalized health care for all at far less cost.
This manuscript was written with a historical perspective so that the reader will gain a clear understanding of the misconceptions and accidents of history that have led to our present dysfunctional and contentious system of healthcare. To most Americans healthcare is a confusing maze of inefficient complexity. I explain how this happened and what we should do about it. The reader will learn how the scientific method, one of man’s greatest achievements, led to modern medicine and the development of the profession. With the goal that everyone in the United States has access to affordable comprehensive care, we must understand the forces at work preventing us from achieving this elusive outcome. It is the author’s intention that an informed populous will help guide our nation to a more individual oriented system while consuming less resources.
Our third party dominated, price-fixed, pre-paid healthcare system is failing us. It consumes too many resources keeping our nation from adequately funding other areas of importance, such as adequately educating our young. The solution is an enlightened tax policy so that everyone has a health savings account growing over time, along with a high deductible insurance plan which would empower every American to control their own healthcare spending and insure universal access.
Death is a natural part of life. But it has become a painful, protracted, humiliating process that is often inappropriate for the healthcare patient, puts an undue financial and emotional burden on the family, and provides a model of improper care for physicians in training. And it's expensive―about 22 percent of all medical expenditures are for people in the last year of their lives. Further, while studies show that 90 percent of all people would prefer to die at home surrounded by family and friends, the reality is that more than 70 percent die in institutions. As Dr. Ken Fisher argues so passionately in this book, it's time for a change.
End-of-life care in the U.S. has evolved over the years into a nightmare for patients and family members, and it has created a near-crushing financial burden on the medical system that is not just excessive but unsustainable. It has driven the cost of healthcare out of reach for many people, and it is a large factor in preventing the creation of universal coverage. In Defiance of Death reviews the current state of end-of-life care and highlights its many problems from a variety of economic, political, and social perspectives. Fisher and Rockwell illuminate the ethical dilemmas we all face as technology allows us to prolong life―but at a huge human and financial cost. This book documents these problems and provides a historical perspective of how our medical system evolved. It argues that America's defiance of death is far too costly and recommend that all stakeholders―including the public, medical community, Congress, and business leaders―join together to create a system that improves end-of-life care for everyone involved. This book, with workable solutions to improve our medical system, helps point the way.