Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis

Books | Health

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
by John C. Goodman

In the groundbreaking book Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis (published in May 2012 by The Independent Institute), NCPA President John C. Goodman reveals how healthcare is a “complex system” that cannot be managed from the top down. True reform requires liberating doctors and patients by allowing them to interact in innovative ways to help meet unique individual medical needs.

The most important problems that plague American healthcare arise because we are trapped. Virtually all of us—patients, doctors, caregivers, employers, employees, etc.—are locked into a system fraught with perverse incentives that raise the cost of healthcare, reduce its quality, and make care less accessible than it should be.

Unfortunately, conventional thinking about how to fix those problems is marred by two false beliefs. The first is the idea that to make healthcare accessible it must be free at the point of delivery. The second is the idea that to make health insurance fair, premiums should not reflect real risks. Both ideas are the reason no one ever faces a real price for anything in the medical marketplace.

Goodman demonstrates how these and other false beliefs have eliminated normal market forces from American healthcare, making it almost impossible to solve problems the way they are solved in other markets. Relying on a common-sense understanding of how markets work, Goodman offers an unconventional diagnosis that allows him to think outside the box and propose dozens of bold reforms that would liberate patients and caregivers from the trap of a third-party payment system that stands in the way of affordable, high-quality healthcare.

The book is summarized in two Health Affairs posts here and here, and selected excerpts are available here.

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