February 14, 2008
News & Opinion: Reasonable Rx
Although they did write the book for laypeople, you really have to be interested in the topic to wade through the first 150 pages, and you'd have be a real policy wonk to read the appendix after that, which lays out their plan in detail after already giving you a general outline in the last chapter.
The book begins, however, with this:
Is it any wonder that there's such a huge outcry about prescription drugs, particularly their high cost? Consider this: If your only source of information was commercial television, no one could fault you for thinking that GERD was a public health crisis in the United States on the scale of AIDS in Africa. In the time it takes you to read this paragraph, you can reasonably assume that American TV watchers saw dozens of advertisements encouraging them to check with their doctors to make sure they don't need to treat GERD with the Purple Pill.
What's GERD? It's the acronym for gastrointestinal esophageal reflex disease, commonly known as acid reflux disease--a condition in which the stomach releases an acid back into the esophagus. Until the 1980's, physicians rarely used the term, and when they did mention GERD it was probably to describe a complication of a rare pancreatic disorder. But that was before drugs like Zantac and Nexium came onto the market.
I haven't reached all the way into the heart of this book yet, but so far it has been very balanced, in-depth, and informative. And, for someone who's not a health-care policy wonk, it's even been rather entertaining.
Ambrose Bierce, the great American author of An Occurrence at Owl Creek, is quoted at the beginning of Chapter 5--How Not to Lower Drug Prices--saying "Insurance: An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table."
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.