Saturday, April 26, 2008

Capitalism is not the cause of America's health care problems, it is the cure

I LOVE this book, it "feels" right. It is written by a Canadian physician that trained in his own country, is most familiar with his local health care system, and who later moved to the US. He has a clear view of the amazing development of medicine in the last century and now is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His own thinking evolved from the support of HillaryCare as a medical student to promoting individual chocie and competition today. The foreword is from none other than Milton Friedman

The book is "The Cure". David Gratzer writes well, and his style is easy to read. Here a few quotes:

" as public opinion and reform efforts in Canada were moving towards more privatization, in the US they have been moving in exactly the opposite direction. As I have worked in both countries, I am unsettled to see mistake made north of the 49th parallel repeated in the south. The direction of American Health care reform is eerily familiar. It's like watching a car accident unfold in front of me: a series of small events, leading to a spectacularly disastrous end"

"In Chapter Three I argue that four decades of reform have failed because they have been premised on two bad ideas, one favored by Democrats, the other by Republicans, and both worsened the problems they were intended to solve." Medicaid and Medicare on one side and the HMOs on the other side. "Both visions have now lost it's luster. America's health care policy is now akin the Eastern Europe's political terra incognita after the collapse of the Berlin Wall; Everyone knows that it doesn't work, but no knows how to proceed. The crisis will only deepen until we find a third way between the Scylla of big government and the Charybdis of bureaucratic HMOs. "

"If America can lead the world in medical innovation, it should also be able to rethink it's health Care system.America has reformed other sectors of its economy that once appeared in crisis. In telecommunication, in banking and in other sectors, this transformation has meant deregulation and increased reliance on market mechanisms. Health care is the exception. Is it any wonder that Americans are dissatisfied? Could it be any clearer what must be done?

Health Care stands at a crossroads. If we stay mired in an economic model from the World War II era, government's role will keep growing, costs will continue to swell and Americans will eventually see the kind of rationing that has afflicted Canada.....If however Americans unleash the market forces that have transformed five sixth of their economy, if they choose more choice and more competition, then American health care will become cheaper, better and more accessible for everyone.

Capitalism is not the cause of America's health care problems, it is the cure"

Everybody should read this book. Dr. David Gratzer, "The Cure. How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care" Foreword by Milton Friedman. Encounter Book $17.95

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