Summary and book reviews of The Price We Pay by Marty Makary

The Price We Pay

What Broke American Health Care--and How to Fix It

by Marty Makary

The Price We Pay by Marty  Makary X
The Price We Pay by Marty  Makary
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  • Published:
    Sep 2019, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tara Mcnabb
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Book Summary

One in five Americans now has medical debt in collections and rising health care costs today threaten every small business in America. Dr. Makary, one of the nation's leading health care experts, travels across America and details why health care has become a bubble.

Drawing from on-the-ground stories, his research, and his own experience, The Price We Pay paints a vivid picture of price-gouging, middlemen, and a series of elusive money games in need of a serious shake-up. Dr. Makary shows how so much of health care spending goes to things that have nothing to do with health and what you can do about it. Dr. Makary challenges the medical establishment to remember medicine's noble heritage of caring for people when they are vulnerable.

The Price We Pay offers a roadmap for everyday Americans and business leaders to get a better deal on their health care, and profiles the disruptors who are innovating medical care. The movement to restore medicine to its mission, Makary argues, is alive and well--a mission that can rebuild the public trust and save our country from the crushing cost of health care.

Excerpt
The Price We Pay

A few years ago, South Korea found itself in the middle of a thyroid cancer epidemic. Starting around 2000, Korean doctors were finding an alarming number of cancerous tumors on the thyroid, a gland in the neck that makes hormones to regulate the body. The rate of thyroid cancer rose at an alarming rate, with yearly increases. Between 1992 and 2011, the Korean thyroid cancer rate increased by a factor of 15, making it the worst in the world for the disease. Thyroid cancer is easy to treat if caught early. And the Korean medical industry responded to the crisis with full force. Hospitals expanded thyroid clinics, hired surgeons, and invested in surgical robots to perform operations to remove tumors. The rate of thyroid surgery skyrocketed more than tenfold. About 4,000 Korean patients underwent surgery for thyroid cancer in 2001. By 2012, about 44,000 Koreans had undergone the same operation.

Thyroid cancer cases consumed valuable resources, and the economic ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The book presents a series of detailed case studies of individuals who have found themselves the victims of medical establishments’ unethical billing practices. The author's travels take him all the way from Pennsylvania to New Mexico, and he successfully links his many interviewees' frustrations with modern healthcare, despite their geographical distance from each other...continued

Full Review Members Only (711 words).

(Reviewed by Tara Mcnabb).

Media Reviews

The Washington Post
The Price We Pay is stuffed with examples of predatory billing, confusing costs and statistics that could make you despondent. But there's plenty of honesty, problem-solving and hope to leaven all that despair.

Washington Post
The Price We Pay is stuffed with examples of predatory billing, confusing costs and statistics that could make you despondent. But there’s plenty of honesty, problem-solving and hope to leaven all that despair.

Kirkus Reviews
Makary rightly takes the health care business to task, but he also offers a ray of hope that change can and will happen.

Booklist (starred review)
In this thoroughly reported primer Makary authoritatively and conversationally explains the money games of medicine...Consider this book a powerful call to action for more information about health costs and for restoring the 'noble mission' of treating everyone with fairness and dignity.

Author Blurb Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief, Forbes magazine
A must-read for every American and business leader.

Author Blurb Cass Sunstein, co-author of Nudge and Professor, Harvard Law School
A valuable and illuminating read, full of intriguing insights into the use of decision-making in medicine and health care and how to make things work for all.

Author Blurb Senator William H. Frist, MD
Marty Makary is one of the great thought leaders in medicine and his new book, The Price We Pay, brilliantly lifts the veil on the state of modern medicine and the new ideas that are disrupting it.

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Beyond the Book

Healthcare: U.S. vs. Europe

As discussed in Marty Makary's The Price We Pay, the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and it spends more money per person on healthcare than any other developed country in the world. Recent data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that America spent $10,209 per capita on total healthcare costs in 2017, more than any other of the 36 nations in the OECD. However, this higher spending does not lead to more effective services, and the nation's healthcare system has become an object of shame and outrage among many of its citizens.

Life Expectancy vs. Healthcare Spending Per Capita

According to a July 2017 report from The Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. came in last among eleven developed countries when it came to ...

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