Health Care American Style

There are two new essays in the mainstream media that give excellent insights into problems with health care in the US. In today's New York Time's Magazine, there is an article entitled "What Broke My Father's Heart." It's the story of how modern medicine kept a severely demented man alive and it contains many lessons--that death is not always the worst fate a human can suffer, that more medical care is not necessarily better care, and that perverse incentives drive performance of procedures as opposed to thoughtful discussions of optimal care. The July issue of Harper's Magazine has a piece (subscription required), "How the Other Half Heals," by Teri Reynolds, an emergency medicine physician. She paints a realistic picture of life in the ED of a safety net hospital and vividly shows us how broken the system is for many.


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