The problems of medical care confront us daily: a bureaucracy that makes a trip to the doctor worse than a trip to the dentist, doctors who can't practice medicine the way they choose, more than 40 million people without health insurance. "Medical care is in crisis," we are repeatedly told, and so it is. Barely one in five Americans thinks the medical system works well.
Enter David M. Cutler, a Harvard economist who served on President Clinton's health care task force and later advised presidential candidate Bill Bradley. One of the nation's leading experts on the subject, Cutler argues in Your Money or Your Life that health care has in fact improved exponentially over the last fifty years, and that the successes of our system suggest ways in which we might improve care, make the system easier to deal with, and extend coverage to all Americans. Cutler applies an economic analysis to show that our spending on medicine is well worth it--and that we could do even better by spending more. Further, millions of people with easily manageable diseases, from hypertension to depression to diabetes, receive either too much or too little care because of inefficiencies in the way we reimburse care, resulting in poor health and in some cases premature death.
The key to improving the system, Cutler argues, is to change the way we organize health care. Everyone must be insured for the medical system to perform well, and payments should be based on the quality of services provided not just on the amount of cutting and poking performed.
Lively and compelling, Your Money or Your Life offers a realistic yet rigorous economic approach to reforming health care--one that promises to break through the stalemate of failed reform.
Not to be confused with the bestselling personal finance volume (by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin), this work examines the health care crisis in America. Many people readily admit they're unhappy with both the cost and the care they receive from their doctors and are very frustrated with the health-care system. However, according to Cutler, an economics professor at Harvard and health-care adviser in the Clinton administration, the advances made in health care over the past 50 years have been quite positive and have contributed to longer and more productive lives. But people have a hard time understanding their choices paying more for medicine that will keep them alive or choosing costly surgery that may not guarantee a better quality of life. Cutler offers numerous examples of medical progress along with economic reasoning to persuade readers that more and more medical advances should be sought, along with better medical coverage for everyone. "For medical care to be effective, people must be able to afford it. The issue of affordability is clearly a concern of the uninsured. The uninsured rely on the largesse of the medical system as a whole." Cutler's discussion of managed care and how doctors are reimbursed for certain procedures but discouraged from other practices is especially clear. Cutler's position health insurance for all and doctor reimbursement by quality, not simply service is clear and compelling. This book will be of most interest to government officials, doctors and others in the health-care industry.