Health against Wealth

Health against Wealth

by George Anders
     
 

The HMO system is often praised for cutting runaway costs. It is supposed to act as a powerful market force to stop greedy doctors and hospitals from treating patients like pi-atas, to be cut open for profit. Health Against Wealth reveals that when you are confronting cancer, heart disease, or psychiatric illness, when you face a medical emergency or your child… See more details below

Overview

The HMO system is often praised for cutting runaway costs. It is supposed to act as a powerful market force to stop greedy doctors and hospitals from treating patients like pi-atas, to be cut open for profit. Health Against Wealth reveals that when you are confronting cancer, heart disease, or psychiatric illness, when you face a medical emergency or your child requires complex pediatric surgery, all those cost-saving rules and artful ways of keeping doctors frugal can turn against you. Wall Street Journal reporter George Anders explains why " managed care " is so appealing to employers and insurers and how HMO bureaucrats can thwart necessary, even life-saving treatment under the guise of cost efficiency. Health Against Wealth takes an unflinching look at the profit-hungry entrepreneurs who have poured into this new" health industry" and provides alarming examples of political manipulation by increasingly powerful HMO lobbyists. At the same time, the book explores the hopes and frustr

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Do HMOs deliver what they market? Wall Street Journal reporter Anders alerts the HMO subscriber to be on guard. Exposing faults with the intent of suggesting reforms, his book could become the energizing catalyst to bring them about, especially since corporations contracting HMOs for their employees have only recently begun to monitor the quality of care proffered by this largely self-regulated industry. For-profit HMOs spend on average 70%-75% of premiums on patient care, while nonprofit HMOs spend 90%. Anders publicizes the salaries of several for-profit CEOs: the chief executive of Foundation Health in 1994 had a $19 million pay package; Humana chair David Jones is one of the richest men in Kentucky. Not just statistics but also well-documented anecdotal evidence makes Anders's arguments alarming as he portrays life-threatening cost-cutting practices. Healthy patients have little cause for dissatisfaction with HMOs, stresses the author, but the elderly and those with medical emergencies or severe illnesses are generally treated on the cheap. Treating patients as production units flowing through a medical factory may be cost-effective, but Andershe's insured by an HMO, his wife prefers traditional indemnity coverageshows that quality controls have not been factored in. His book will have readers restudying their HMO plans, this time as informed subscribers. 40,000 first printing; first serial to the Wall Street Journal; author tour. (Nov.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Around for a number of years, managed care is now receiving increased attention as larger numbers of people sign on with health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Anders, senior special writer for the Wall Street Journal, has penned this book for people trying to make informed choices about medical insurance. He opens with a chilling anecdote about an infant whose care was delayed by the family's HMO and, as a result, lost his hands and feet to amputation. Anders then proceeds to describe how HMOs have developed in this country and offers opinions on how managed care handles specific types of illness. The implication throughout is that managed care works best for healthy people who occasionally have routine illnesses but can fail those who have serious or chronic (i.e., costly) illnesses. Anders concludes with concrete suggestions to improve the system. Recommended for consumer health collections, which for balance should also include Alan G. Raymond's The HMO Health Care Companion (HarperPerennial, 1994) or Michael Cafferky's Managed Care & You (McGraw Hill, 1995).Dixie Jones, Louisiana State Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Shreveport
Booknews
A staff writer for the "Wall Street Journal" explains how the cost-cutting measures taken by health maintenance organizations can thwart necessary life-saving treatment. He explains why managed care is so appealing to employers and insurers, and how profit-hungry entrepreneurs have swarmed into the industry and manipulated legislation and regulation with powerful lobbying. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395822838
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Publication date:
10/01/1996
Pages:
299
Product dimensions:
6.33(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.04(d)

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