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What broke American health care and how to fix it

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • Dr. Marty Makary’s book, “The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care — and How to Fix It,” reveals the money games in the U.S. health care system, and what every American should know
  • New science is revealing that indications to treat should be narrower then previously recognized. Overall 21% of medical treatments have been deemed unnecessary, contributing to our cost crisis
  • Over the past 150 years, the focus of most hospitals has shifted from serving the community to generating profits, and these two aims are frequently at odds
  • Predatory pricing practices are crushing everyday Americans. Some hospitals will charge five to 10 times the going rate for services and then sue patients who cannot afford the padded bills
  • Investigations reveal there’s no correlation between high prices and quality of care. Nor is there a correlation between high prices and charity care
  • Another egregious example of predatory pricing is that of ambulance transport. Unless you’re seriously injured, consider taking an Uber to the hospital as the bill for an ambulance transport can run into the thousands. For helicopter transport, it could be as high as half a million dollars

Dr. Marty Makary, a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital — rated the top U.S. hospital 22 times over the past 28 years — has written a new book, "The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care — and How to Fix It." He also has a master's degree in public health.

In 2013, I interviewed him about his previous book, "Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care."


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