Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Book Review - The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer


Originally published on Care & Cost here.

The opening page of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladiesbegins with a quote by Susan Sontag that is so on-point, yet so rare and fresh, that one can’t help being excited by the prospect of what’s to come.

Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick.

Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.

You open the book with great expectations. It is weighty, yes – 570 pages, 100 of which are end notes – but beginning, you immediately find its expansive scholarship wrapped in a writing style so fluid and lyrically engaging that it instantly dispels any hesitancy, and you are captured.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Toward A Healthier America


Originally Published 12/1/10 on Care & Cost

Note: This article was published to frame the approach that David Kibbe and I have in developing our new national health care professional forum, Care & Cost.  

It’s not that we don’t know what’s wrong with health care or how to fix it. The problem, instead, is how to change a system rigged to protect industry excess over care and cost.

As we begin this forum, we see American health care edging closer to a cliff and dragging the larger American economy with it. The health care cost bubble, inflated by duplication and waste, is poised to pop. At the same time, the industry’s bloat has encouraged innovation, driving improvements in quality, safety and cost throughout health care.

Clinics As Health Care's Transformational Engines


Originally Published 12/1/10 in Medical Home News

The recent explosion of interest in onsite clinics - not just by employers, but by health plans, hospital systems, public health programs, and others - is anything but just another health care fad. At once, clinics’ growing popularity signals purchasers’ weariness with an intransigent, self-interested health system, as well as their guarded optimism about a better way.

If Employers Walked Away From Health Coverage

Originally Published on 11/24/10 on Kaiser Health News
What would happen if the rank and file of America's employers, financially overwhelmed by the burden associated with sponsoring health coverage, suddenly opted out?
It isn't so far-fetched. Enrollment by working age families in private health coveragedropped more than 10 percent over the last decade, as individuals and business were priced out of the coverage market. Others, victims of the downturned economy, have lost their jobs and access to subsidized coverage. Those who still have coverage have narrower benefits with higher out-of-pocket costs than before.