Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998American Medical Association
by Daniel Callahan, 315 pp, $23, ISBN 0-684-81109-X, New York, NY, Simon & Schuster, 1998.
Most readers of THE JOURNAL will agree that US medicine is in deep trouble. We have given over responsibility for the care of a large fraction of our sick people to the whims of private corporations interested largely in achieving an excess of revenue over expenses. Many people do not have financial coverage against the cost of illness. No national authority oversees or monitors the activity of corporate medicine, even though there are loud complaints of overregulation.
It is natural, therefore, to hold out high hopes for the message of a health policy expert who speaks from the high summit of ethics and broadly based experience, the Hastings Center. Sadly, this author provides no data whatsoever, no new analysis of the situation, no new ideas, a constant reiteration of long-held opinions, and a largely negative view. The blame for all this sadness is placed on us "Americans" despite the fact that there is no comparison with other nations, which might demonstrate that all of Europe is in the throes of similar enigmas of cost and access.
Health PolicyFalse Hopes: Why America's Quest for Perfect Health Is a Recipe for Failure. JAMA. 1998;280(1):98-99. doi:10.1001/jama.280.1.98-JBK0701-2-1