Synopses & Reviews
The U.S. healthcare system is failing. It is run like a business, increasingly focused on generating income for insurers and providers rather than providing care for patients. It is supported by investors and private markets seeking to grow revenue and resist regulation, thus contributing to higher costs and lessened public accountability. Meanwhile, forty-six million Americans are without insurance. Health care expenditures are rising at a rate of 7 percent a year, three times the rate of inflation.
Dr. Arnold Relman is one of the most respected physicians and healthcare advocates in our country. This book, based on sixty years' experience in medicine, is a clarion call not just to politicians and patients but to the medical profession to evolve a new structure for healthcare, based on voluntary private contracts between individuals and not-for-profit, multi-specialty groups of physicians. Physicians would be paid mainly by salaries and would submit no bills for their services. All health care facilities would be not-for-profit. The savings from reduced administrative overhead and the elimination of billing fraud would be enormous. Healthcare may be our greatest national problem, but the provocative, sensible arguments in this book will provide a catalyst for change.
"Relman, a professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, offers his diagnosis of what has gone wrong with American health care, along with a radical solution. In clear, eloquent prose, Relman explains how the rush to commercialize medicine harms both physicians and patients. Contrary to free-market dogma, Relman asserts, in medecine the profit imperative 'increases costs; it may also jeopardize quality or aggravate the system's inequity.' Relman's proposal: a single-payer insurance program supported by an earmarked, progressive health care tax, coupled with a reformed delivery system in which all hospitals would be not-for-profit and most physicians would be salaried employees of not-for-profit prepaid group practices. Relman acknowledges that today's political reality doesn't favor his program. Instead, it is fueling the drive for so-called consumer-driven health care (CDHC); in theory, by forcing consumers to pay for their own health care (for example, through high-deductible catastrophic insurance), CDHC promotes more prudent choices. But Relman calls CDHC 'an illusion that bears little resemblance to the realities' for seriously ill patients.. He predicts that in a decade or so, when CDHC has failed to solve the health care crisis, the country may be ready to try his plan." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A world-renowned physician traces the rise of the medical-industrial complex that has made a disaster of our healthcare systemand tells us incisively what we need to do to change it
About the Author
Dr. Arnold S. Relman is Professor Emeritus at Harvard Medical School and the former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. He received his M.D. from Columbia University in 1946, and has taught at distinguished medical schools including Boston University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University. He was appointed by The White House to serve on the Health Professionals Review Group and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve on the Board of Registration in Medicine. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.