Overcharged: Why Americans Pay Too Much for Health Care

Date and Time
June 8, 2018 9 AM - 1 PM EDT
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute
Elisabeth Rosenthal
John E. McDonough
Andy Slavitt
Gail Wilensky
Megan McArdle

Columnist, Washington Post

Eric D. Hargan

Why is America’s health care system so dysfunctional and expensive? Why do hospitalized patients receive bills laden with inflated charges that come out of the blue from out‐​of‐​network providers, or that demand payment for services that weren’t delivered? Why do we pay $600 for EpiPens that contain a dollar’s worth of medicine? Why is more than $1 trillion—one out of every three dollars that passes through the system—lost to fraud, wasted on services that don’t help patients, or otherwise misspent?

In a new book published by the Cato Institute, Overcharged: Why Americans Pay Too Much for Health Care, Cato adjunct scholars Charles Silver and David Hyman answer these questions. Overcharged shows how government replaces competition and consumer choice with monopolies and third‐​party payment, making America’s health care system as expensive as possible.

At this special book conference, the authors, joined by other national health care experts, will lay bare the root causes of our health care system’s ills and show how the health care sector will become more efficient and pro‐​consumer when it is subjected to the competitive forces that apply to the rest of the economy. Prices will fall, quality will improve, and medicine will become more patient‐​friendly when consumers take control of their health care dollars and exert pressure from below.

To see how this transformation will work, please join us in person or online to learn about the potent “medicine” Overcharged prescribes.


9:00 – 10:20AM Panel 1 – Misdiagnosis: The Problems Congress Has Ignored
  • David A. Hyman, Coauthor, Overcharged; Professor of Law, Georgetown University; Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute
  • Andy Slavitt, Chairman, United States of Care; Former Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Gail Wilensky, Senior Fellow, Project HOPE; Former Administrator, Health Care Financing Administration
  • Moderator: Elisabeth Rosenthal, Editor‐​in‐​Chief, Kaiser Health News; Author, An American Sickness

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10:20 – 10:35AM Break
10:35 – 11:55AM Panel 2 – Mistreatment: Why Obamacare Failed and What Will Succeed
  • Charles Silver, Coauthor, Overcharged; Professor of Law, University of Texas‐​Austin School of Law
  • John E. McDonough, Professor of Public Health Practice, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Moderator: Megan McArdle, Columnist, Washington Post

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11:55AM – 12:15PM Break
12:15 – 1:15PM Keynote Address
  • Eric D. Hargan, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Introduction by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute

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1:15 – 2:00PM Lunch