Health Care Turning Point: Why Single Payer Won't Work

Overview

In the battle over health care reform we can try to fashion new policies based on old ideas--or we can acknowledge today's demographic and economic realities. In Health Care
Turning Point
, health policy expert Roger Battistella argues that the conventional wisdom that dominates health policy debates is out of date. Battistella takes on popular misconceptions about the advantages of single-payer plans, the role of the market, and other health policy issues and outlines a ...

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Health Care Turning Point: Why Single Payer Won't Work

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Overview

In the battle over health care reform we can try to fashion new policies based on old ideas--or we can acknowledge today's demographic and economic realities. In Health Care
Turning Point
, health policy expert Roger Battistella argues that the conventional wisdom that dominates health policy debates is out of date. Battistella takes on popular misconceptions about the advantages of single-payer plans, the role of the market, and other health policy issues and outlines a pragmatic new approach. Few would disagree that the current system is broken. But,
Battistella asserts provocatively, a government takeover of health insurance patterned after
Medicare and Medicaid won't work either. Battistella argues that contrary to popular belief,
single-payer coverage will not lower health spending but would encourage overconsumption and drive costs up. If consumers were responsible for buying their own health insurance (as they are for buying their own car and home insurance), he argues, they'd look for value and demand greater price and quality transparency from providers.

The economic shibboleth that the principles of market competition don't apply to health care is nonsense, Battistella says. We won't achieve real health care reform until policy makers adjust to this reality and adopt a more pragmatic view.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this concise book Battistella (health policy & management, emeritus, Cornell Univ.) manages to take shots at most arguments made by both the left and the right in the health-care reform debate. He stresses the need for universal coverage but promotes a consumer-driven model, based on the premise that if each of us has to face the real costs of insurance and care, we will make better choices, driving costs down. Part of his ideal redesign would end employer-based coverage, but insurance companies selling to individuals mandated to buy policies would not be permitted to discriminate based on age or health status, and sliding-scale government subsidies would still be needed. Politicians, doctors and hospitals, insurance companies, and consumers all share the blame for where we are, he argues. VERDICT Battistella's book is well sourced, and he does a reasonable job of presenting arguments he disagrees with along with his own views. The controversial ideas are presented in a nonconfrontational way and clearly enough to appeal to readers trying to understand the spectrum of ideas on this topic.—Dick Maxwell, Porter Adventist Hosp. Lib., Denver
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262517256
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/29/2012
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,477,697
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger M. Battistella is Emeritus Professor of Health Policy and Management in the Sloan
Graduate Program in Health Administration at Cornell University.
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