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Book details
  • Genre:MEDICAL
  • SubGenre:Health Policy
  • Language:English
  • Pages:180
  • eBook ISBN:9781467541848

We All Die Once

by Dr. Larry Kessler

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"We All Die Once" is an essential, entertaining, and timely exploration of how to fix American healthcare. Much of it was inspired by my two-decades-plus as an emergency care physician practicing in a range of facilities in the New York area. When a new Congress takes up revision or repeal of Obamacare, “We All Die Once” should be every legislator’s guide. Their constituents should read it too. It’s a sensible, refreshing account of all the major healthcare issues, grounded in reality rather than doctrine. Its solutions take full advantage of free market forces for middle and upper income folks, while allowing government its proper role in providing for the truly needy. “We All Die Once” shines a light on the insanity of our system through vivid stories from medicine’s front lines. Here you will see healthcare issues play out on a stage of human crisis. Stories from hospitals, doctors’ offices, and inner city streets illuminate a broken system and the suffering it causes. Readers will see how poverty keeps patients away until its far too late. Readers will learn how miraculous advances often fall victim to perverse “systems” of finance and information. They will recognize the roles of law and advertising in obscuring the real goals of medicine. The solutions are here too. After “We All Die Once” describes the problems, it proposes ways to fix them, combining these cures into a comprehensive program built on traditional principles. It shows readers how America’s medical system can make sense again.
Next January will see the swearing in of Congress, a President, and many legislators and governors. When that happens the issue of healthcare will be on the table. Republicans are committed to repealing Obamacare. Democrats are just as committed to keeping it. No matter who’s in the White House, the new law will be reviewed, and probably changed, if not tossed out altogether. When those debates begin, if there is a single book every concerned citizen, congressman, senator, and administration official should read, it’s “We All Die Once.” “We All Die Once” is a riveting account of the past, present, and future of American medicine. From prenatal care to the end of life, this book uses history, analysis, and dramatic personal experiences to illustrate every major controversy in the healthcare fight. Starting with the emergency room, it guides readers through the modern hospital, examining individual cases to show larger truths. It chronicles lives saved, lives lost, and lives caught in the twilight world between the two. It shows how modern medicine is shaped by an anarchic array of forces, each with its own source, focus, and interests. Readers will learn how insurance, law, and DTC advertising have shaped our medical experience. They will see how technology combines with culture to create the false notion of a zero failure rate. Medical malpractice, regulatory boards, and excess testing are vividly described in stories showing real life consequences. Thorough description and argument are fine, but the true value of “We All Die Once” is in its solutions. All the firsthand accounts, arguments and history follow a logical course to proposals of sane, rational measures that balance imperfections with ideals. This isn’t a panacea, nor is it stuck in socialistic or libertarian philosophies. It’s a pragmatic way for healthcare to benefit from free market competition, allowing most of us to pay affordable prices for humane and personalized service. It retains a role for government in healthcare for the poor and needy, and returns insurance to its proper role of backup against catastrophe. It outlines roles for law and media which would protect both doctors and patients, while providing patients with accurate, objective information in an atmosphere free of high-pressure promotions. Recent healthcare bestsellers are narrowly-focused arguments about a single subject. Books like Betsy McCaughey’s “Decoding the Obama Health Law: What You Need To Know,” and “Why Obamacare Is Wrong for America” by Grace-Marie Turner et al, show their limitations in their titles and introductions. They are for or against one thing: the healthcare law of 2011. “We All Die Once” sees Obamacare as simply one more stage in the disintegration of American medicine. It looks at the whole field, from insurance to practice, from birth to death. It examines what we want medicine to be, and how we can work toward that goal. In the process it explodes many myths, and exposes extremists on all sides to harsh reality. Tea Party enthusiasts and supporters of Occupy Wall Street will love and hate this book, each for their own reasons. Legislators and policymakers will find a comprehensive tool with a complete program that avoids rigid doctrines. “We All Die Once” takes the impossible quandaries of healthcare, and subjects them to the art of the possible. Readers with an interest in medicine, economics, or public policy will find it’s impossible to put this book down.
About the author
Born in Brooklyn in 1964. I graduated from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, and trained in emergency medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. In the past 22 years I’ve worked in several emergency facilities, from small, under-equipped suburban clinics to large state-of-the-art hospitals in the city. I’ve been married to an emergency physician for 18 years. We have two children in their teens. In the months since I began writing this book both my mother and my father-in-law passed away. In both instances I had up-close-and-personal experiences with our health system from the vantage point of a member of the patient’s family. Those losses resonated with me, making my work on this book more vital than ever.