Health Scare: The Truth Behind America's Health Care Crisis is a relatively short book which outlines what the author, Rene P. Moret, believes is wrong with healthcare in the U.S. today, and how he would propose to fix it.
Reviewing non-fiction, particularly non-fiction about contentious issues, requires a reviewer to look at both the book and the opinions put forth therein. Health Scare: The Truth Behind America's Health Care Crisis is highly readable. Moret clearly lays out what he considers to be the problems, and clearly proposes a solution. His arguments are cogent--the only problem is that I don't agree with him. He does a good job of showing that economic forces drive most decision making. He decries the employer-sponsored health-insurance system that is prevalent today stating that it unnecessarily increases the costs of goods and services. He points out that the free market is generally pretty good about creating needed goods and services at affordable prices and that health insurance is the only insurance to which claims are submitted as a normal course of action in normal life circumstances. However, after all that writing about the free market, his solution is government-funded healthcare for all. Basically we'd all get money from the government to buy private health insurance, and that insurance would require us to use a primary care physician to coordinate our care. That physician would receive bonuses not only for keeping his/her patients healthy but also for keeping costs below target ranges. His idea is that the physician knows whether treatments/tests are needed, or useful, or superfluous, or even harmful.
My brother isn't the most highly educated person in our family, but he can come out with home-spun wisdom on occasion. One of his sayings I have found to be true is his Golden Rule "He who puts out the gold makes the rules". When it comes to healthcare--or just about anything else concerning myself or my family, I want to be the one making the rules. Moret postulates that physicians won't undertreat patients because they will want to keep them as customers. He also would have the physicians responsible for meeting certain health targets aimed at keeping people healthy. I just question how much good that would do. Yes, there are people who do without needed preventative care because of the cost; however health issues he mentioned included obesity and smoking. He thinks that if doctors were paid more for counselling time, they could convince people to achieve optimum weight and not smoke. Speaking just for myself, I know I have a weight problem and when I get ready to do something about it, I can spend an hour a week at Weight Watchers for a lot less than the cost of a doctor's visit--and the reality is I don't really need to go there either, all I need to do is eat less and exercise more; its just that the bottom line is I don't want to badly enough.
Bottom line: Any easy to read book that advocates rationing by the primary care physician as the way to control medical expenses, and payment by the government as the way to finance it.