Saturday, November 22, 2008

Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis

Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis
by Tom Daschle

“I may not agree with some of the political statements but Senator Daschle is right on target on the need to start a serious dialogue on health care for Americans. His thoughtful health-care proposals will move the process forward. Senator Daschle and I agree on the need for nonpartisanship in coming to grips with this number one domestic problem.” —Bob Dole, former Senate majority leader
“The American health-care system is in crisis, and workable solutions have been blocked for years by deeply entrenched ideological divisions. Sen. Daschle brings fresh thinking to this problem, and his Federal Reserve for Health concept holds great promise for bridging this intellectual chasm and, at long last, giving this nation the health care it deserves.” —Senator Barack Obama (IL)
“This book provides real solutions for America’s broken health care system.” —Senator Harry Reid (NV), Senate majority leader
Critical provides answers to one of the most vexing challenges of our time.” —John Podesta, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress and a former White House chief of staff
“It is a must-read.” —Jerome H. Grossman M.D., senior fellow and director of the Health Care Delivery Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government
“Senator Daschle adds to his reputation as a clear thinker and leader. Critical shows us not only why we must solve our health care crisis but that—with political will—we can.” —Judy Feder, professor and dean at Georgetown Public Policy Institute

5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating, February 19, 2008

A big part of me resisted the idea of buying a book on health care written by a former Senator. It just seemed way too wonkish for me. But I am into politics and a minute does not go by without a candidate screaming about "Health Care" and "Universal Health Care" so I figured I should get up to speed on what the debate is all about.

I'm really glad I did. In truth, Critical is a well written book and is quite interesting. Daschle cogently explains why our current health care system is broken and why there is, in fact, a desperate need to fix it. I'd heard that said many times before but did not understand why. Now I do, thanks to this book.

I am a strong believer in the free market as the best means for providing most of the goods that people want at the best price. But I now have to admit that the free market is not working when it comes to health care. It really isn't. And I am not saying this as a Democrat. I am a registered Republican.

For those who might think that this book is nothing but a left-wing, socialist rant, they would be wrong. In fact, many of Daschle's recommendations for "fixing" the system are to make our system work the way it would in a true free market environment. That is, to provide the highest quality care at the least cost to the consumer. It was really eye-opening to learn how very far away from this ideal our current system is.

Daschle's book covers most of the bases. It describes our current system and why it is so flawed (the number one cause for bankruptcy in our country cannot be called a good system of health care!) He then describes the history of trying to create a better health care system in our country, starting with Truman, up to Clinton, and on up to the current day. He outlines the players who consistently get in the way of needed reform. And, finally, he puts forward his own idea of how we might create a viable health care system that affordably takes care of people when they fall into disease.

I got a great deal out of this book. For one, I've learned that right wing talk radio is REALLY clouding the issue when they talk about health care, and is doing the country a great disservice. Daschle persuaded me on a lot of important points and made me aware of the nature of the problem. I thank him for the time he put into writing such an informative, readable book on such an important issue. If you want to educate yourself on the state of our health care system, this is the place to start.

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