Drawing on his experience as former secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and his current post as chairman of Chrysler Corporation's Health Care Committee, Califano predicts a breakdown of our health-care system unless aroused business executives intervene to save it. Most crucial among the scientific, demographic, political and economic forces involved, he writes, are abusive and wasteful medical practices, the high cost of high-tech systems and the heavy demands of an aging population. Reforms should include educational, corporate and individual efforts stressing health maintenance; mandatory employer health insurance; and government provision for the elderly, poor and unemployed. In addition, health-care prices should be regulated by competition instead of on a cost-plus, fee-for-service reimbursement basis. (March 17)
Americans pay huge amounts of money for health care but we haven't received the type of care we need. Current financial incentives promote surgery, expensive tests, and hospital stays. Califano believes economic incentives must be altered to provide more competition. By stressing health care rather than sick care, we can enjoy better health at less cost. This book provides a very revealing look into the workings of an immensely important industry. Califano's case is convincing and his prescriptions are persuasive. A timely work that is highly recommended for most collections. Richard C. Schiming, Economics Dept., Mankato State Univ., Minn.