A Second Opinion: How to Prevent the Collapse of America's Health Care

Arnold S. Relman, Author Public Affairs $19.95 (205p) ISBN 978-1-58648-481-1

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. (May 23)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 241 pages - 978-1-58648-582-5
Paperback - 219 pages - 978-1-58648-806-2
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