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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Who Killed Health Care?

American Spectator review of Regina Herzlinger's book, Who Killed Health Care?: America's $2 Trillion Medical Problem -- and the Consumer-Driven Cure.

Herzlinger concludes her book by outlining a compelling plan so that we can achieve the health care system that we deserve. First, we should put the tax treatment of health insurance on an equal footing so that those who do not receive their insurance through an employer also get a tax break. Second, we need to deregulate so that entrepreneurialism can flourish in the health care sector -- laws that hinder physician ownership of medical facilities are one such example. Government's role should be very limited, only helping to pay for the insurance of people who cannot afford it, and regulating health care information, much like the Securities and Exchange Commission does with financial markets. The only one of Herzlinger's suggestion that would likely prove counterproductive is her call for an individual mandate to require everyone to purchase health insurance. This is already proving problematic in Massachusetts, leading to even more government involvement in health care.
I tend to agree with that assessment, in fact, getting a little more hung up on Herzlinger's prioritizing individual mandates than Mr. Hogberg's review. While Herzlinger's book is a worthy read, I would recommend David Gratzer's The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care and Cannon and Tanner's Healthy Competition: What's Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It as better reads on health care policy and consumer-driven reform.

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