A Weak Congress

(1) A Second Opinion: Rescuing America’s Health Care by Dr. Arnold Relman

“The U.S. healthcare system is failing. It is run like a business, increasingly focused on generating income for insurers and providers rather than providing care for patients. It is supported by investors and private markets seeking to grow revenue and resist regulation, thus contributing to higher costs and lessened public accountability. Meanwhile, forty-six million Americans are without insurance. Health care expenditures are rising at a rate of 7 percent a year, three times the rate of inflation.”

“Dr. Arnold Relman is one of the most respected physicians and healthcare advocates in our country. This book, based on sixty years’ experience in medicine, is a clarion call not just to politicans and patients but to the medical profession to evolve a new structure for healthcare, based on voluntary private contracts between individuals and not-for-profit, multi-specialty groups of physicians. Physicians would be paid mainly by salaries and would submit no bills for their services. All health care facilities would be not-for-profit. The savings from reduced administrative overhead and the elimination of billing fraud would be enormous. Healthcare may be our greatest national problem, but the provocative, sensible arguments in this book will provide a catalyst for change.”


(2) Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price by Jonathan Cohn
See our previous post here.


(3) Health Care Meltdown: Confronting the Myths and Fixing Our Failing System by Robert H. Lebow

“It is no secret that health care in the United States is managed by a confusing welter of institutions, regulations, corporations and government agencies. Paperwork is rampant at every level, and much time and money are wasted while millions of people go without needed medical attention. For this “system” the U.S. spends about twice as much per capita as most developed countries.”

“In this book Dr. Bob LeBow tackles this monumental issue with clarity and forthrightness. His prescription for our health care quagmire is a national health program which includes universal coverage, as is the case in every other industrialized country.”

(note: above descriptions excerpted from Amazon.com)


It’s a Chronic Condition
Our current health-care debate is rooted in the 1930s.
By Mary Carmichael

April 16, 2007 issue – Jonathan Cohn has studied health care for more than a decade, and in that time he’s heard hundreds of grim tales­people who skimp on doctors’ visits and skip medications so they can make the rent; patients who died because, as he writes in his new book, they “literally could not afford” to fall ill. That book, “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis­And the People Who Pay the Price,” focuses in heart-rending detail on nine of those stories, the kind of which may well find their way into stump speeches in 2008. But it also brings a fresher perspective to the health-care debate, thanks to a second, more surprising source: Depression-era documents that tell nearly identical stories. Then, too, ailing people went without care as politicians and physicians sparred over its spiraling costs. “It’s frightening how parallel the situations are,” Cohn says in an interview. But America isn’t necessarily doomed to repeat its history, as long as there’s still time to learn from it.

Cohn begins his saga around 1910, a time, at least in the medical world, of hope. Doctors had pioneered anesthesia and antiseptics, transforming hospitals “from places where people were lucky to survive to places where people expected to be cured,…”

More at Newsweek

Some Call It Health Care
(Commentary By Lee Russ)
Posted Monday, April 02, 2007 on Watching the Watchers

“Dedicated free marketeers continue to do their best to muddy the waters in the health care debate, dragging the debate out as more and more people find themselves unable to afford health insurance or health care. But every now and then you get some information that really clarifies exactly how bad our current system is.” Full story here

The AMSA SeaCouver Project busts the myth that Canadian health care is inferior to our system.

In 2004 and 2005, American Medical Student Association students traveled to Seattle and Vancouver to study the healthcare systems of American and Canada. During the trip, students interviewed Americans and Canadians about their perceptions of both their own healthcare system and the healthcare system of the bordering country. This project-in-a-box contains everything you need to understand that national health insurance in America would rock.

From Life and Times:

Toni Guinyard went to Chinatown to meet Dr. Ma.

Dr. Ma is an internist, Chinese-born, California educated and, at times, frustrated with the very health care system he cares so much about. High health insurance rates and low Medicare reimbursements are taking a toll.

Dr. George Ma: I have patients with no insurance or lack of adequate insurance. We want to prescribe a drug. They can’t afford it. We want to do a blood test. They can’t afford it because someone denied it or somewhere along the way, there are roadblocks.

Toni Guinyard: His practice gives us a glimpse inside the world of health care for the uninsured and under-insured. It’s a world forcing physicians to become creative to make sure patients get the care they need.

Dr. George Ma: I do my own billing. My wife chases the bills because most insurance just doesn’t pay.

Visit KCET Life & Times to read the full transcript