A Health Care Reading List
Prepared by Michael Cannon
Read This First
- Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It by Michael F. Cannon and Michael D. Tanner (Cato Institute, 2007)
America’s healthcare system is at a crossroads, faced with rising costs, quality concerns, and a lack of patient control. Some blame market forces. Yet many troubles can be traced directly to pervasive government influence: entitlements, tax laws, and costly regulations. Consumer choice and competition deliver higher quality and lower prices in other areas of the economy. In this new book, Cannon and Tanner argue that removing restrictions can do the same for health care.
General Introductions to Health Care Policy
- Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care by Arnold Kling (Cato Institute, 2006)
Argues that the way we finance health care matches neither the needs of patients nor the way medicine is practiced.
- Mortal Peril by Richard A. Epstein (Addison-Wesley, 1997)
Argues that unregulated provision of health care will increase access to quality medical care, and advocates a free market in human organs.
- Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer by Shannon Brownlee (Bloomsbury, 2007)
The first nine chapters wonderfully illustrate the harms that come from too much government control over medicine (even if the tenth chapter calls for additional government control).
- Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande (Picador, 2003)
A gripping examination of the complexities that make medicine unlike any other product, and the quality problems America’s health care sector – for some reason – struggles to overcome
- Free for All? Lessons from the RAND Health Insurance Experiment by Joseph P. Newhouse (Harvard University Press, 1993)
Reviews an important study about how individual behaviors change when health care services are offered for free. Provides the empirical foundation for medical savings accounts.
On Reforming Health Insurance
- Pooling Health Insurance Risks by Mark Pauly and Bradley Herring (AEI Press, 1999)
Argues that employer-sponsored insurance does a worse job of pooling risk – and the “individual” health insurance market does a better job of pooling risk – than conventional wisdom suggests.
- Toward a 21st Century Health System: The Contributions and Promise of Prepaid Group Practice by Alain C. Enthoven and Laura A. Tollen, eds. (Jossey-Bass, 2004)
Shows how integrated, “prepaid” health systems could reduce health care costs and improve quality, were it not for government interventions that hamper their ability to compete.
- Key Issues in Analyzing Major Health Insurance Proposals by the Congressional Budget Office (2008)
A careful application of the economics literature to different strategies for expanding access to health insurance.
On Reforming Government Programs
- Medicare Meets Mephistopheles by David A. Hyman (Cato Institute, 2006)
Let’s say you’re the devil, and you want to corrupt the American republic. How would you go about it? According to David Hyman, professor of law and medicine at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, you might create something like Medicare, the federal health care program for the elderly.
- The Diagnosis and Treatment of Medicare by Andrew J. Rettenmaier and Thomas R. Saving (American Enterprise Institute, 2007)
Weighs the various options for reforming Medicare, including moving Medicare to a pre-funded system of retirement health insurance. Thomas Saving is a former Medicare Trustee.
- Medicare’s Midlife Crisis by Sue A. Blevins (Cato Institute, 2001)
Puts the health insurance program for the elderly and disabled in historical context, reveals the shenanigans involved in getting it enacted, and details the threats the program poses to individual liberty.