Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works

( 2 )


You won't have to worry about going broke if you get sick.

We will start to bring the costs of health care under control.

And we will do all this while reducing the federal deficit.

That is the promise of the Affordable Care Act. But from the moment President Obama signed the bill into law in 2010, a steady and mounting avalanche of misinformation about the ACA has left a growing majority of Americans confused...

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You won't have to worry about going broke if you get sick.

We will start to bring the costs of health care under control.

And we will do all this while reducing the federal deficit.

That is the promise of the Affordable Care Act. But from the moment President Obama signed the bill into law in 2010, a steady and mounting avalanche of misinformation about the ACA has left a growing majority of Americans confused about what it is, why it's necessary, and how it works. If you're one of them, buy this book. From how to tame the twin threats of rising costs and the increasing number of uninsured to why an insurance mandate is good for your health, Health Care Reform dispels false fears by arming you with facts.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Don't underestimate this paperback because it's presented in an entertaining comic book format. Its author is Jonathan Gruber, an award-winning MIT economist who was one of the key architects in both the national and the Massachusetts health care reform bills. This graphic approach to this easily misunderstood issue benefits from both Dr. Gruber's unique credentials and the artistic ability of award-winning illustrator Dean Motter. A valuable primer on an issue that none of us can ignore.

Publishers Weekly
As its subtitle indicates, this book is about more than entertainment. It delivers information, like Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, through an earnest but informal lecture by a cartoon version of an expert—in this case Gruber, an MIT economics professor who helped craft Massachusetts’s successful health care reform plan as well as the Affordable Care Act, which has been the subject of so much confusion and deliberate misinformation. He begins the presentation by confronting a small group of people with the enormous medical bills they could receive after medical treatment, then moves from the individual to the national level to show that our present system is unfair and unsustainable. The explanation of how the ACA can fix the problems may not convince all readers, but they’ll come away with a clearer understanding of what the real issues are. Schrieber’s simple black and white art effectively uses symbols and some basic charts to help explain the morass. An effective use of comics as part of a public policy debate. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“Jonathan Gruber, one of the country’s smartest health care minds, has brought the epic struggle of health reform to life. By explaining the challenges in our health care system as well as the benefits of the reform with imagination and verve, he accomplishes what many have tried and failed to do—he makes the case for health reform as an important achievement for the American people.” —Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress

“Having spent years working to make health care work for Americans, Jonathan Gruber has now provided another service: walking everyone through the benefits of the Affordable Care Act reforms so consumers are armed with accessible information. In an age when information is power, Gruber’s book is fun and informative, and it boils down the facts of health care reform for all Americans.” —Senator John Kerry


“If you want to learn about health care reform, you can do no better than to learn from the master. Jonathan Gruber shows how health care reform works in a way that everyone can understand. Read this book. You will not regret it.” —David Cutler, Professor, Department of Economics and Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University


“Jonathan Gruber’s straightforward explanation of what the Affordable Care Act does and why will help people understand what’s true and what’s false about the health reform law. His message is clear and easy to get: when it comes to health care, we’re all in it together; and, together, we will benefit from making the Affordable Care Act a success.” —Judy Feder, Professor and former Dean, Georgetown Public Policy Institute

Library Journal
Just who is Gruber to explain health-care reform? He's an award-winning MIT economist, director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a key architect of the wide-ranging Massachusetts health-care plan, a member of the board now implementing that plan, and an adviser to Barack Obama whose work shaped the national reform plan passed in 2010. With the help of award-winning artist/illustrator Motter, Gruber takes a graphic approach to the topic that should help clarify the thorny issues involved. Let's hope that everyone who should read this book does so.
Kirkus Reviews
A cartoon-driven examination of what's wrong with the American way of health care--and why the legislative reform of 2010 was necessary. "Every one of us knows that America's health care system is a mess," writes Gruber (Economics/MIT), who helped draw up the Massachusetts reforms for which Mitt Romney is now taking such a beating from the right. And for good reason: The hard right characterizes any kind of government management of health care as socialism, while others across the political spectrum believe that the unchecked profit motive assures that health care will remain expensive and differentially accessible. Gruber turns up some astonishing figures for which Schreiber's accompanying illustrations carry an appropriate sense of alarm. For instance, in 1960 health care cost less than 3 percent of the federal budget, while the "largest single expenditure now is on health care," likely to incur a deficit of $100 trillion--that's trillion with a tee--in the near future. The author glosses over one obvious reason, namely the aging of the baby boom generation, while examining the big business that health care has become. By way of a pointed example, he considers what would happen to four very different people given the same medical emergency, namely a heart attack: Someone with decent benefits would be covered, while someone working on the fringe of the economy, as so many are these days, would pay most expenses out of pocket--and if he or she could actually get private coverage, it would be costly and incomplete. The Massachusetts plan, Gruber maintains, offers one cure, though the insurance industry has done all that it could to void the spirit if not the letter of the law. The omnibus health-care reform act that narrowly squeaked through Congress is a necessary start, but with more to do. Timely and informative. Where was so clear an explication during the health-care brouhaha on Capitol Hill?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809053971
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 12/20/2011
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 552,110
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was a key architect of Massachusetts's ambitious health reform effort and consulted extensively with the Obama administration and Congress during the development of the Affordable Care Act. The Washington Post called him "possibly the [Democratic] party's most influential health-care expert."

Nathan Schreiber's comics have appeared in L'Uomo Vogue, Overflow, and Smith Magazine and on His comic Power Out won a Xeric award and has been nominated for an Eisner award and multiple Harvey awards.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 23, 2012

    Smart and Entertaining

    This is perfect for explaining the philosophy and realities of health care reform. The information is well-organized, and logically presented in the graphic format of a comic book/airplane escape brochure. I even had an apolitical teenager read it and he grasped the concepts quite well. Since reading this, I've been stunned at how much misinformation about "Obamacare" is a part of everyday conversation. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to enter the debate but feels ill-equipped. Everyone else, too, for that matter!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2012

    Interesting approach (animated, comic book style) to educating t

    Interesting approach (animated, comic book style) to educating the general public on a very complex issue. It's just a shame that it isn't more balanced. While Health Care Reform in general is certainly necessary, and parts of the ACA are positive, I think the author does a disservice in not addressing the warts, concerns and very significant problems with the ACA. This is pretty obviously a spin and if you are looking for a balanced education on the pros and cons of the ACA, or health care reform in general, then look elsewhere.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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