Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Blurb for My Book

Preface: H. David Crombie, MD, a surgeon and editor of Connecticut Medicine, wrote the following blurb for my book, The Health Reform Maze, which is scheduled to be published by Greenbranch Publishing in June.

This is a book that is of value to all the players—doctors, insurers, health planners and government administrators of health care and finance, as well as hospital leaders, legislators and the patient/consumer. Dr. Reece, trained as a pathologist, has been a writer of distinction for all of his professional life.

He was editor of the respected Minnesota Medicine for over twenty years, and in recent years has written ten books examining the American healthcare system and its effect on the sick and the well, the rich and the poor, the doctors and the bureaucrats, the government and the people. This latest effort is his reading of the impact of the Affordable Care Act since its passage, as derived from his blogs entered on the web from March, 2010 to January 2011.

The author believes that reform of health care has been designed by a politically center-left Congress and President, for a center-right more conservative nation. He makes it clear that what was needed was stepwise evolutionary change and what we have with “Obamacare” is a revolution in the provision of and payment for healthcare in the U.S. The appointed leader of the Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS), Dr. Donald Berwick, is, in the view of the author, committed to the central control of healthcare policy rather than one likely to rely on market forces.

Since passage of the law, two camps have marshalled their forces—those on the left who argue that government must participate (further) in the system of healthcare, and those on the right who want less government, lower taxes, less debt and preservation of the right of individuals to decide for themselves.

The accusatory rhetoric heats up on both sides and Dr. Reece, through his reading of the published media, the blogosphere, and interviews with recognized thinkers and actors on the healthcare stage, delivers facts and candid appraisal of the ongoing debate in plain language. Each section ends with a pithy tweet, to wit: “At a time of reckoning, the apocalyptic rhetoric does not bode well for patients or doctors”. And another section is wrapped up with, “Americans love medical machines that improve their lives, restore their lifestyles and retain their youth.”

Valid concerns are expressed that the law as it stands will leave us short of doctors, thus short of access for those gaining insurance coverage. The emphasis on Accountable Care Organizations, and the efforts to diminish fee-for service payment systems and bundle payments to doctors and hospitals are pushing amalgamation into larger systems with doctors as salaried workers. These phenomena are dissected and exposed in easily understandable language, sometimes with a touch of humor: “Don’t launch vast projects with half-vast ideas.” Dr. Reece’s book is a lively, practical and valuable contribution to today’s ongoing discussion.

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