I'm not the book's first admirer. A couple of other fine Teabagger-Americans have already written incredibly fawning reviews. Perhaps I'm biased, but I think mine is much better. If you agree, please give it your vote as the "most helpful review" so it can be listed as the "most positive review." I'm starting late and was 48 votes behind when I published, so if you're inclined, evangelize your freinds and ask them to cast their votes for the one true review as well.
Achieving the perfect orderliness of a soylent green society,
July 12, 2009
David Gratzer's The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care is perhaps greatest paen ever written to the one true religion: laissez-faire capitalism. It's a celebration of the triumph of the bottom line, an adoration of profit, and a joyous prayer of hope for the perfect orderliness of a soylent green society.
Over the last 30 years, we've stood in awe as we've witnessed unregulated capitalism's transformative powers. Where once our edible ecology lacked such keystone species as E.coli and salmonella, our meat, fruit, vegetables, and water have become veritable Edens for those precious pathogens. Where once financial regulation checked glorious greed and encouraged the unbearable ennui that comes with stability, our new, deregulated, economic environment has brought excitement to investing and incredible profits to those few deserving oligarchs who were most prepared with the connections to exploit the system to their advantage.
Now, David Gratzer and the insurance industry wants to do the same for health care. He's heard the complaints. He's read studies like the 2004 Commonwealth Fund report which looked at satisfaction in five nations. He saw that they found that U.S. Americans were by far the most dissatisfied with their health care system (over twice as dissatisfied as Canadians)and less likely to receive care because of cost (17% of Canadians vs 40% of U.S. Americans).
Yes, he's studied it thoroughly and has decided that the problem with the U.S. system is that it is not capitalistic enough. It needs to be deregulated like the food and banking industries. The problem isn't lack of access, it's about deciding who deserves what level of care--it's about rationing health care by one's ability to pay.
Even more importantly, it's not a matter of whether someone can receive the care they need, but whether society will allow him or her to access a free market solution to pay for that service. Is our society advanced enough to provide a patient's loved ones an opportunity to sell their organs to pay for needed health care? Have we achieved that level of compassionate capitalism yet? Do the poor and working classes care enough about life to make sacrifices to preserve it? If not, do they really deserve all of the benefits of life?
These are the fundamental questions to which Gratzer alludes, but, unfortunately, fails to fully address in his book. That's a shame, because these are the questions that must be answered if we are ever to fully achieve the libertarian society he envisions.
That said, Gratzer does honor un-fettered capitalism with the blind worship that it deserves as the answer to everything (along with lower taxes and drilling in the ANWR). That's why I'm giving his book four stars.
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