Our health care system is too far gone for treatment with a single pill.
We need a stiff cocktail of meds - a collection of solutions . . .
for a Sick Health System
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The 50


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America's health care system is bankrupting its people, businesses and society. It both over-treats and under-treats, with poorer results than in most of the industrialized world.

It is damaged with multiple fractures and poisoned with bad incentives. Its ills are so many that there is no single cure.

But we can cure its ills. There are a lot of specific things we can do, starting now.

This book lists 50 of them, from insisting on clear and consistent medical pricing to fixing corporate law, sensibly regulating insurers and bringing patients more fully into the process. American health care can be safer than it is now, and deliver better health for much less cost.

These 50 Meds can get us there.

They are answers from all over the spectrum, often in places some interest or another would rather not acknowledge. But halfway measures, approaches that look at only part of the problem without considering the pieces attached to that part, are almost sure to fail. We can succeed if we look all way around the circle, with reform on the part of doctors, insurers, hospitals, contractors, attorneys, governments - and, yes, patients too.

This isn't the first book about problems in the health care system, or solutions for them. But it may be the first to look at these things comprehensively.

There's a tendency to focus on one problem and one solution. We have a problem with high-priced insurance, so change the insurance system. We have a problem with malpractice insurance and legal costs, so go after that. We have a problem with bad eating habits, so emphasize nutrition. All of these paired problems and solutions, and many more, are real and a piece of the problem.  But each is only one piece.

There's also the reality of opposites: Our system both undertreats and overtreats; it makes patients activist in some bad ways and not nearly enough in beneficial ways; it instills over-defensive worry in doctors at the same time it fails to hold them accountable; and so on.

Fail to attack health care comprehensively, go after only pieces of it, and the problem won't go away and may not diminish - it may just shift its location.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

50 Meds shows why.

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