We consumers have lost authority over the single factor that has made the customer king in every other segment of our economy—control of the money. As a result, two massive financial sinkholes have formed that deny us an affordable health care system:
- Huge, secret price variations. A growing majority of working families now pay all of their annual health care costs from their own pockets because of growing insurance deductibles. Yet we are denied access to the price and quality information that would allow us to find the best providers at the lowest price. That’s why a Denver patient with a high-deductible health plan can be forced to pay the entire $8,280 bill for an abdominal CT scan, never knowing she could have obtained an identical one for $290 at another imaging center. If patients could shop by price, medical costs would drop by a third or more.
- Massively wasteful transaction costs. On top of high unknowable prices sits an outmoded payment system that leeches out more than a sixth of all medical spending—adding no patient value whatever. Meanwhile, everything else we buy—food, clothes, school supplies, transportation, housing, and recreation—involves a mere 1-2% debit/credit card transaction fee.
Government failure. To date, every major attempt to reduce out-of-control medical spending has come directly or indirectly from the federal government. Every one has failed, as will every future such top-down, paternalistic, bureaucratic effort.
Private sector opportunity. Completely lost in the debate is the fact that America’s major private-sector employers have long had all the tools they need to fix this broken health care system. They just haven’t done it. It’s time for that to change. How Jeff Bezos Can Fix Health Care explains in detail what must be done, who must do it, and why it hasn’t yet happened. It prescribes a fundamental, utterly practicable breakthrough for a private-sector, consumer-market-driven solution to high costs and uncertain quality.
Who should read this book? This is an essential book for anyone wanting a sustainable, affordable, high-quality health care system. This includes concerned consumers, private employer executives and managers, doctors & health professionals, hospital clinical and management professionals, educators in business and health policy, economists, and managerial finance specialists. It is a must-read for all the CEOs who have for too long ignored the power they possess to offer affordable, high-quality health care to their workforce and their families.
This book is both a workable prescription and an essential text for anyone wanting to understand how to make health care affordable and sustainable. It explains how our seemingly incomprehensible, deeply dysfunctional, and massively wasteful system is really quite understandable and eminently fixable.
In other words, it’s a dangerous book.