Former NY Times journalist and non-practicing physician Elisabeth Rosenthal’s new book, An American Sickness, lists 10 economic “rules” of US medicine that are guaranteed to make money, but not to improve outcomes:
More treatment is always better. Default to the most expensive option.
A lifetime of treatment is better than a cure.
Amenities and marketing matter more than good care.
As technologies age, prices can rise rather than fall.
There is no free choice. Patients are stuck. And they’re stuck buying American.
More competitors vying for business doesn’t mean better prices; it can drive prices up, not down.
Economies of scale don’t translate to lower prices. With their market power, big providers can simply demand more.
There is no such thing as a fixed price for a procedure or test. And the uninsured pay the highest prices of all.
There are no standards for billing. There’s money to be made in billing for anything and everything.
Prices will rise to whatever the market will bear.
Here is a review of her book. I am thrilled this book is getting the attention it deserves: for without understanding what our health care system has become, there is no way to make the changes needed for it to work for the People, and their medical providers.