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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mark C. Mantooth, JD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: In this book, Professor Mark Hall provides a detailed review and analysis of current medical spending decision making and discusses alternative mechanisms.
Purpose: The author attempts the daunting task of presenting a clear impression of what each institutional structure that participates in medical decision making has to offer, with the ultimate goal of finding the least-imperfect mix of institutions and incentives for public policy. The author makes a valiant and scholarly attempt to reach his laudable, though unattainable, goal.
Audience: As implied in the Preface, this book has been written for lay persons to assist them in understanding how their health insurance influences medical spending decisions. Because of the complexity and dryness of the subject matter, however, healthcare and public policy enthusiasts will likely be the actual audience. The author, a professor of law and public health, has sufficient credentials to be a credible authority.
Features: Replete with references and an extensive bibliography, this book appears to have been well researched. The author has divided the material into seven chapters, organized according to an analytical framework peculiar to the author's stated purpose. This work neither has nor needs any illustrations, and the index is adequate for the reader's needs.
Assessment: If nothing else, the pertinence of the subject matter and the underlying research make this book invaluable. Additionally, the author at times offers innovative and intriguing insights that prove refreshing to a discussion of medical resource reallocation. He makes a strong case, for instance, for the increased use of medical savings accounts. The analyses of policy issues proves to be thorough — though sometimes bordering on the pedantic — and thought-provoking. The book also frequently rambles, and some of the author's points rely on broad assumptions that can be easily challenged.