2010 nonfiction book by Rene P. Moret< read all 1 reviews
Rene P. Moret is an independent health care consultant. He has worked in the health care business for more than 20 years and is a former CEO of North American Medical Management in California. Mr. Moret is also a certified public accountant. After spending so much time in the health care industry Rene Moret is frustrated by the complex and costly solutions being touted by Congress and the Obama administration in the so-called Health Care Reform Act of 2010. The way he sees it the problems we face are quite apparent and fixable without all of the government intervention that is about to be foisted upon us. “Health Scare: The Truth Behind America’s Health Care Crisis” is Rene Moret’s effort to spell out the problems we face in this country and to offer up sensible solutions that we can all live with and afford. I found “Health Scare” to be a real eye-opener.
In the opening chapters of “Health Scare” Moret highlights some of the major problems that he believes are contributing to the spiraling cost of health care in our country. A rather disturbing development he addresses is the 1997 legislation passed by Congress legalizing something called “Direct to Consumer Advertising (DTCA)”. This ill-advised legislation allows the major drug companies to market drugs directly to consumers effectively circumventing the traditional doctor-patient relationship. This would seem to explain why you are seeing all of those annoying drug ads on TV these days. Most countries have wisely outlawed this practice and only the United States and New Zealand have caved in and allowed it. For a whole host of very sound reasons the author believes that this is very bad public policy. I completely concur. Moret also discusses the ever-increasing problem of what he calls “defensive medicine”. Just in case you are unfamiliar with the term the author explains that “defensive medicine” occurs “when doctors deviate from sound medical practice and order tests or perform procedures mainly to avoid the threat of a medical malpractice lawsuit.” This is a hell of way to have to run a medical practice but in today’s highly litigious environment many health care professionals feel that they have no choice. Such practices do nothing for the patients and result in substantially higher costs that place an even greater strain on our already over-taxed health care system. The author also argues quite vigorously for a rapid conversion to Electronic Health Records (HER) technology here in the United States. The U.S. lags far behind most other developed nations in the use of this technology and Moret believes that this is one of the primary reasons why our health care system is so expensive, inefficient and in such need of a drastic makeover. I was stunned to learn that as of 2006 only 28% of primary care physicians in this country had availed themselves of this technology. It is positively mind-boggling to contemplate how many doctors are still using manila folders and handwritten records. Moret believes that the conversion to Electronic Health Records is one of the keys to ultimately controlling health care costs in our nation.
So just how do we go about fixing health care here in the United States? Rene Moret certainly does not support the 2000 page health care bill recently enacted by Congress. He believes that this plan will drastically increase costs and ultimately result in rationing of essential health care services. Moret devotes the final six chapters of “Health Scare” to outlining a common sense proposal that he dubs the Health Care Overhaul Plan. The author firmly believes that this is the blueprint for fixing health care in this country. His plan revolves around drastically redefining the role of primary care physicians and in essence making them our “medical managers”. Under this plan, primary care physicians “will be asked to focus on their traditional roles as the patient’s first point of entry in the health care system; as advocates for health promotion, disease prevention, counseling and education and as coordinators with other clinicians for care that they themselves are unable to provide”. This approach makes perfect sense to me. Obviously, a large number of key reforms would have to be implemented to make this all happen but Moret believes that the ultimate goal should be “to make the primary care physician an advocate for both the patient’s health condition and the financial condition of our health care system.” The two should not be mutually exclusive and primary care physicians are perfectly positioned to make this happen. There are many other facets to Mr. Moret’s plan that I simply do not have time to enumerate here. Suffice to say that Rene Moret makes a very convincing case that while America may boast the best “sick care” system in the world the present state of our ”health care” approach leaves an awful lot to be desired. I found “Health Scare: The Truth Behind America’s Health Care Crisis” to be a highly readable and extremely thought-provoking book. I feel that I am now much more conversant in the issues discussed here. This is an excellent way to quickly get up to speed on many of these extremely important topics. Very highly recommended!
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