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The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care Hardcover – Sep 20 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; Annotated. edition (Sept. 20 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594031533
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594031533
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,350,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa73586f8) out of 5 stars 14 reviews
172 of 240 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6c0b2f4) out of 5 stars Achieving the perfect orderliness of a soylent green society July 12 2009
By Gen. JC Christian, patriot - Published on
Format: Paperback
David Gratzer's "The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care" is perhaps greatest paen ever written to the one true religion: laissez-faire capitalism. It's a celebration of the triumph of the bottom line, an adoration of profit, and a joyous prayer of hope for the perfect orderliness of a soylent green society.

Over the last 30 years, we've stood in awe as we've witnessed unregulated capitalism's transformative powers. Where once our edible ecology lacked such keystone species as E.coli and salmonella, our meat, fruit, vegetables, and water have become veritable Edens for those precious pathogens. Where once financial regulation checked glorious greed and encouraged the unbearable ennui that comes with stability, our new, deregulated, economic environment has brought excitement to investing and incredible profits to those few deserving oligarchs who were most prepared with the connections to exploit the system to their advantage.

Now, David Gratzer and the insurance industry wants to do the same for health care. He's heard the complaints. He's read studies like the 2004 Commonwealth Fund report which looked at satisfaction in five nations. He saw that they found that U.S. Americans were by far the most dissatisfied with their health care system (over twice as dissatisfied as Canadians)and less likely to receive care because of cost (17% of Canadians vs 40% of U.S. Americans).

Yes, he's studied it thoroughly and has decided that the problem with the U.S. system is that it is not capitalistic enough. It needs to be deregulated like the food and banking industries. The problem isn't lack of access, it's about deciding who deserves what level of care--it's about rationing health care by one's ability to pay.

Even more importantly, it's not a matter of whether someone can receive the care they need, but whether society will allow him or her to access a free market solution to pay for that service. Is our society advanced enough to provide a patient's loved ones an opportunity to sell their organs to pay for needed health care? Have we achieved that level of compassionate capitalism yet? Do the poor and working classes care enough about life to make sacrifices to preserve it? If not, do they really deserve all of the benefits of life?

These are the fundamental questions to which Gratzer alludes, but, unfortunately, fails to fully address in his book. That's a shame, because these are the questions that must be answered if we are ever to fully achieve the libertarian society he envisions.

That said, Gratzer does honor laissez-faire capitalism with the blind worship that it deserves as the answer to everything (along with lower taxes and drilling in the ANWR). That's why I'm giving his book four stars.
65 of 99 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6c0b348) out of 5 stars Well informed view from the trenches Nov. 30 2006
By Man in the Middle - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm surprised to be the first to review The Cure, but it's a good enough book to have a review even if it has to be mine. I read this last week, along with Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care, by Arnold Kling. I enjoyed them both equally, would recommend both as suitable introductions to understanding the problems of our current health care system and frequently-proposed alternatives.

The strong point of this book is that the author is licensed in both the U.S. and Canadian health care systems, and very familiar with both. Proponents of alternatives to our current system often seem to overlook the fact that all existing alternative systems also have problems, which cannot be improved by mere ignorance.

Combining this book's real world experience with the Kling book's hard-headed focus on economics provides much to chew over in the debates surely about to begin again in the U.S.
41 of 65 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6c0b624) out of 5 stars Because Everyone Seems to Need The Cure May 11 2008
By Doug - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care is an excellent resource on health care economics and the history of health care policy. The author is a free market economist, a physician and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. The research that went into this book has been endorsed by Milton Friedman (in the Foreword) so it should be of appeal to free market advocates.

Dr. Gratzer persuasively argues that the fundamental problem with U.S. health care is too much government regulation. To argue this, Dr. Gratzer first notes how the employer-based health coverage arose as an unintended side effect of a tax law, which allowed employers to write off health care expenditures for their employees. Moreover, Dr. Gratzer argues that both Democrats and Republicans have both essentially offered more government regulation as the solution to health care, which has not worked. The Democrats, such as the LBJ Administration, promoted enormously inefficient programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The Republicans, have promoted bureaucratic HMOs, which have led to similar large-scale inefficiencies.

Driving this point further, Dr. Gratzer greatly details the harmful economic consequences of government regulations in health care. For example, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) forbids hospitals from denying any patient for emergency care. The economic reality is that this leads to hospitals suffering economic losses by being forced to treat patients, regardless of if they can pay for the care, which ultimately leads to the closing of hospitals. Furthermore, insurance mandates, such as benefit mandates, rating mandates and bans on out-of-state insurance, restrict competition and lead to higher insurance premiums. Dr. Gratzer also thoroughly analyzes the harmful economic consequences of the FDA, Medicare, Medicaid and much more.

This book also dispels many common myths about the quality of U.S. health care. For example, statistics are often cited to argue that Canadians and/or Europeans have higher life expectancies than U.S. citizens. Dr. Gratzer argues that such studies mistakenly compare statistics on *health* when they should be on *health care*. There numerous lifestyle habits that differ between cultures, such as frequency of exercise and diet, which effect health. Dr. Gratzer proposes examining statistics on cardiac arrest patients, to see which country offers better treatment. In these respects, Dr. Gratzer argues that the U.S. system is clearly superior to its universal health care counterparts.

As one can infer, Dr. Gratzer proposes free market solutions to fix American health care. Specifically, he proposes drastically reducing the various regulatory excesses that he delineates throughout his book as well as embracing Health Savings Accounts. As always, Dr. Gratzer corroborates his arguments with real-world success stories, such as the success of Whole Foods' adoption of HSAs for its employees.

I highly recommend this book to all fans of free market capitalism with an interest in health care policy.
11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6c0b51c) out of 5 stars Excellent Argument for Free-Enterprise in Health Care.... March 19 2009
By Il Padrone - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Cure does a good job of illustrating the diverse ways in which our health care system is inefficient and expensive compared to it's free-market alternative. The only problem, and the reason that I, as a hypercritical anal-retentive perfectionist, take off a star, is that Gratzer ironically could be more consistent in the application of those very principles, more organized in his argument, and more illustrative with examples. His whole discussion of the FDA, for example, for the most part argues within the framework of retaining the organization. But, as his reference to 'public choice' theory shows, he's aware that as long as the agency exists, it will have incentives to act less efficiently than free-market alternatives, one example of which would be, as he mentions, the Underwriter's Laboratory with electrial devices, which works well. More concrete examples of the utter wastefulness of the third-party payment system would also help the reader understand how consumer lack of motivation is probably the biggest cause of skyrocketing costs. Also, he ignores as a formal point, although he mentions in passing, the huge suits and judgements brought and allowed against various hospitals, pharmaceuticals, and other health groups that motivate them to engage in CYA testing across the board, thus also raising prices.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6c0bb58) out of 5 stars Free market solutions to healthcare May 25 2011
By J. Martin - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ron Paul 2012, liberty not more government
This book does a good job of advocating
for free market solutions compares to
failing Canadian system