Money-Driven Medicine

Recently finished Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much by Maggie Mahar who, as you may know, blogs at the Health Beat.

I recommend the book.  Ms. Mahar does a wonderful job exploring the many different facets of our health care system; each component is responsible for some sort of wasteful spending.  The book also gives good history lessons on a variety of topics including for-profit hospitals (which I found quite interesting).  The many interviews provide a look into how individuals throughout health care feel about current standard operating procedure with some very insightful opinions.

From the jacket:

Why is medical care in the United States so expensive? For decades, Americans have taken it as a matter of faith that we spend more because we have the best health care system in the world. But as costs levitate, that argument becomes more difficult to make. Today, we spend twice as much as Japan on health care—yet few would argue that our health care system is twice as good.

Instead, startling new evidence suggests that one out of every three of our health care dollars is squandered on unnecessary or redundant tests; unproven, sometimes unwanted procedures; and overpriced drugs and devices that, too often, are no better than the less expensive products they have replaced.

How did this happen? In Money-Driven Medicine, Maggie Mahar takes the reader behind the scenes of a $2 trillion industry to witness how billions of dollars are wasted in a Hobbesian marketplace that pits the industry’s players against each other.

An interesting tidbit from the Publishers Weekly review on Amazon, “[Ms. Mahar] wants to show why the most common economic assumptions about health care—especially those that extol the magic power of free markets—are false and stand in the way of real reform.

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