The Cost Disease: Why Computers Get Cheaper and Health Care Doesn't

The Cost Disease: Why Computers Get Cheaper and Health Care Doesn't

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by William J. Baumol
     
 

ISBN-10: 0300179286

ISBN-13: 9780300179286

Pub. Date: 09/25/2012

Publisher: Yale University Press

The exploding cost of health care in the United States is a source of widespread alarm. Similarly, the upward spiral of college tuition fees is cause for serious concern. In this concise and illuminating book, the well-known economist William J. Baumol explores the causes of these seemingly intractable problems and offers a surprisingly simple explanation.

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Overview

The exploding cost of health care in the United States is a source of widespread alarm. Similarly, the upward spiral of college tuition fees is cause for serious concern. In this concise and illuminating book, the well-known economist William J. Baumol explores the causes of these seemingly intractable problems and offers a surprisingly simple explanation. Baumol identifies the "cost disease" as a major source of rapidly rising costs in service sectors of the economy. Once we understand that disease, he explains, effective responses become apparent.

Baumol presents his analysis with characteristic clarity, tracing the fast-rising prices of health care and education in the United States and other major industrial nations, then examining the underlying causes, which have to do with the nature of providing labor-intensive services. The news is good, Baumol reassures us, because the nature of the disease is such that society will be able to afford the rising costs.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300179286
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
09/25/2012
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xvii

Part 1 The Survivable Cost Disease

1 Why Health-Care Costs Keep Rising 3

2 What Causes the Cost Disease, and Will It Persist? 16

3 The Future Has Arrived 33

4 Yes, We Can Afford It 43

5 Dark Sides of the Disease: Terrorism and Environmental Destruction 69

6 Common Misunderstandings of the Cost Disease: Cost versus Quality and Financial versus "Physical" Output Measures 77

7 The Cost Disease and Global Health 94

Part 2 Technical Aspects of the Cost Disease

8 Hybrid Industries and the Cost Disease 111

9 Productivity Growth, Employment Allocation, and the Special Case of Business Services 116

Part 3 Opportunities for Cutting Health-Care Costs

10 Business Services in Health Care 141

11 Yes, We Can Cut Health-Care Costs Even If We Cannot Reduce Their Growth Rate 154

12 Conclusions: Where Are We Headed and What Should We Do? 180

Notes 183

References 207

About the Authors 237

Index 239

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The Cost Disease: Why Computers Get Cheaper and Health Care Doesn't 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
pfahey68 More than 1 year ago
The authors demonstrate that the banal observation that labor intensive services consume increasing fractions of our economy is not a matter of concern. The productivity growth of the rest of the economy allows us to afford all of such services we may want. This insight carries important implications for correct policy choices. My only criticism: I wish the book had addressed the question of how to assure that the benefits of productivity gains in the economy at large accrue to wider segments of the general populace.