Thursday, January 11, 2007

Slowest book review ever

Last summer I was live-blogging Arnold Kling's book "Crisis of Abundance." The project ground to a halt when I lost my copy (long but incoherent and embarrassing story omitted); As a Christmas present to myself, I got another copy, so the posts now resume.

To recap, the book addresses the causes of our rising health care costs. Dr. Kling examines some commonly-held beliefs about the causes of increases in health care costs and finds them wanting. He says the evidence doesn't show that private health insurance is the culprit, nor is overcharging by health-care providers. Instead, it is the prevalance of "premium medicine" that drives up health costs.

Premium medicine can be thought of as the practice of always wanting to use the latest and greatest health technology and medicine, even if it doesn't necessarily improve treatment results.

When I left off, I was on the verge of Dr. Kling's discussion of possible solutions to the problem. With California's governor blundering into drastic state intervention in the healthcare economy, and with some here in Iowa pushing the same direction, the topic is timely, even if my completion of the book isn't.

If you've somehow lost the thread of my earlier posts, you can pick them up below:

Expat comments on Crisis of Abundance Posts.
Premium medicine in action
C of A: "Three Health Care Narratives"
Crisis of Abundance: "Premium Medicine"
May 20, 2006
May 16, 2006