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Book and Media Reviews
August 27, 2008

Medicare Prospective Payment and the Shaping of US Health Care

JAMA. 2008;300(8):970. doi:10.1001/jama.300.8.970

Robert Berenson, a physician and public policy veteran of the Clinton and Carter administrations, has joined with political scientist Rick Mayes to explain and update the significance of Medicare changes over the past decade. This should interest physicians, particularly as the authors are careful to explain how Congressional politics and organized medicine affect year-to-year changes in Medicare payment policies. The authors repeatedly provide evidence of how health plans and hospitals react to federal Medicare policy—a policy that drives all US health care cost containment. This undoubtedly does concern physicians, because the authors convincingly explain how yearly patches and fixes to proposed reductions in physician fee schedules are setting the market up for an unavoidable crash.