American Healthcare

Our Review of the Week investigates the economic and ethical implications of the American healthcare system

Priced out : the economic and ethical costs of American health care

Reinhardt, Uwe. Princeton, 2019
201p index, 9780691192178 $27.95, 9780691192611

Reinhardt (who taught economics at Princeton for 50 years) died in 2017, and this is his last published book. Up until his death he was intimately involved in health care policy making, and in this book he analyzes the economic and ethical costs of the US health care system. He starts with an overview of high health costs and the factors driving them, pointing out that rising costs are pricing more and more Americans out of health insurance and health care. Reinhardt devotes part 2 of the book to the ethical questions on which the American public has yet to reach political consensus. He discusses the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act of 2017. In the conclusion he offers, in brief, an interesting reform proposal of his own. Some of the more interesting parts of the book, especially for those who are less excited about numbers and figures used by economists, are the two forewords, one by Paul Krugman and one by Senator William H. Frist, and the epilogue and acknowledgments by Tsung-Mei Cheng, Reinhart’s wife. The two forewords underscore the bipartisanship of the author and of the book.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers.
Reviewer: D. Li, University of Texas at Dallas
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Economics
Choice Issue: Sep 2019