Item description for Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care by Arnold S. Kling...
America's health care troubles stem largely from a great success: Modern medicine can do much more today than in the past. The problem is how to pay for it. In easy to understand prose, MIT-trained economist Arnold Kling explains better ways of financing health care by relying less on government and more on private savings and insurance. A must-read for health care reformers.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date May 25, 2008
Publisher Cato Institute
ISBN 1933995130 ISBN13 9781933995137
Availability 0 units.
More About Arnold S. Kling
Arnold Kling is an adujuct scholar at the Cato Institute and a former economist for the Federal Reserve Board and later for Freddie Mac. He is an adjunct scholar at George Mason University in Washington, DC and is also a contributing editor for TCSdaily.com. Kling is author of two previous books: "Under the Radar" and "Learning Economics".
Reviews - What do customers think about Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care?
healthcare finance May 3, 2008
Probably one of he best critiques of what ails the US healthcare system today. So-called health "insurance" isn't insurance. What is insurable about the risk that I will visit my doctor for an annual physical or my dentist for a cleaning? Why shouldn't I pay these out of pocket and use insurance to pay for what I can't pay out of pocket -- a catastrophic health incident? We get really interested in what we pay for out of our own pockets, but it has to be more than a co-pay or low deducible.
Like Social Security, people are not given an incentive to save for the healthcare needs of old age and Kling recommends a tax-exempt account which, if started at age 30 with annual contributions of $1600 and 3% real interst, would accumulate to $100,000 by age 65. At that time the owner would buy a "rest of life" insurance policy for a $25,000 premium with a $75,000 deductible. Medicare is phased out gradually. Make sense? That's why you'll never seen a politician support it. They can only think in terms of government run programs -- the same government that gave us postal "service", Medicare, and a social security programs whose paltry returns would get a commercial annuity manager fired or jailed for pocketing contributions net of payments instead of paying them to a decedent's estate.
This is a great book to read in an election year when everyone has a solution to healthcare in America.
The antidote to Michael Moore Jun 24, 2007
Kling does not leap to the quick fix, but he delineates the problems that must be considered in any attempt to restructure the health care system or its funding.
This book is smart and readable, providing the reader with a great overview of parameters to consider.
Another book from CATO May 9, 2007
Taking out the redundancy, this (about) 100 page book could have been made into a 20 page pamphlet. The real point behind this book: expectation of medicine has been increasing over the years since most people have either private or government sponsored insurance.
Difficult but worth reading Apr 24, 2007
For this reader, "Crisis of Abundance" by Arnold Kling was difficult to read. Fortunately, it is very short, under 100 pages. In the end, it was well worth my brief persistence.
Anyone who wants to understand the healthcare crisis in the U.S. would benefit by reading this. The author is an economist, and the book is clearly told from an economic and public policy perspective. His goal was to write this book for the "concerned citizen," while at the same time making it credible to professional economists (p. ix). I rank this book lower than most other reviews because I believe the author partially fails in his attempt to write this book clearly for the concerned citizen.
He makes the point that what ails our national health care system is what he calls "premium medicine" -- or health care spending whose cost exceeds its benefit. He defines "premium medicine" as: "frequent referrals to specialists; extensive use of high-tech diagnostic procedures; and increased numbers and variety of surgeries" (p. 4). "If our high levels of health care spending are the result of so-called premium medicine, we should be demonstrably healthier. Yet when we attempt to examine average longevity at a national level, there seems to be no connection between American's high levels of health care spending and life span." (p. 25)
I found the book most difficult when the author was presenting policy issues. Kling states that his goal is "not to offer a package of solutions. It is to raise the level of understanding of the realities, issues and tradeoffs pertaining to health care policy" (p. 95). Here, for this reader, he succeeded. I now have a far better grasp of why the U.S. spends so much more on health care than other developed nations.
Kling is a libertarian, as is my husband, and that is how the book ended up in my hands. Generally I don't like libertarian solutions to current problems, but I found this book far less ideologic than others my husband has shared with me.
The book has piqued my interest, and I will no doubt read more on this topic in the future. Personally, I would love to find a book on this topic that also takes the environmental costs (see for example, "Plan B 2.0" by Lester Brown) of "premium medicine" into consideration when discussing the cost-benefit equations. Now that would be challenging and controversial!
Short, Well-Written, and Well-Reasoned Mar 26, 2007
"Crisis of Abundance" should be read by any educated person who wants to understand the healthcare crisis in the U.S. and proposals to remedy it. This short, intelligent book reviews the various theories in play to explain why the U.S. spends so much more (as a percentage of GDP) on healthcare than other developed nations; looks at the "awkward facts" facing each theory; describes the trade-offs that any system for healthcare spending cannot avoid; and presents realistic policy considerations for improvement.
Even if you normally don't read "public policy" books, you should make time for this one. It will give you a solid foundation for evaluating what politicians and pundits say about the healthcare crisis and all the different fixes, both good and bad, that will be offered for your support.