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April 30 , 2011

The Cure

How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care


We are surrounded by medical miracles: polio has been eradicated; childhood leukemia is now treatable; death by cardiovascular disease has declined by two-thirds in the last fifty years. Yet while American medicine has never been better, angst over American health care has never been greater. Why is American health care such a mess? In this path-breaking book – Nobel laureate Milton Friedman calls it "fascinating and thorough" – Dr. David Gratzer goes to the heart of the problem, showing that the crisis in American health care stems largely from its addiction to outmoded and discredited economic ideas. What needs to be done? Dr. Gratzer mounts a bold and provocative argument, rejecting the conventional wisdom that socialized health care is compassionate and that top-down government agencies like the FDA actually save lives. Instead, he prescribes a strong dose of capitalism. The Cure offers a detailed overview of American health care, from economics and politics to medical science. Weighing in on the most controversial topics in health care, Dr. Gratzer makes the case that it's possible to reduce health expenses, insure millions more, and improve quality of care while not growing government or raising taxes. An award-winning author and essayist, he is a master storyteller, enlivening his book with anecdotes, interviews, and stories drawn from his own extensive clinical experience. He details the cardiac woes of Robert E. Lee and Dick Cheney, describes a chat over coffee with Canada's foremost private medical entrepreneur (an acquaintance of Fidel Castro, as it happens), and explains the evolution of his own thinking, from advocating HillaryCare as a medical student to promoting individual choice and competition today. The patient is in critical condition; Dr. Gratzer diagnoses the disease and prescribes the cure.
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