This slim, apolitical and important volume reads like a manifesto. Renowned medical scientist Robert M. Kaplan challenges leaders to make the United States’ health care system average. By the most important measures of health – life expectancy and quality of life – the US badly lags its peers and slides further behind each year. Kaplan prescribes dramatic changes in health care policy without a bigger budget. He argues for reallocation of the current budget, which today focuses on cures, technologies, procedures and medical “moonshots.” Kaplan pleads for a more commonsense, balanced approach – namely, an immediate increase in funds allocating 10% of the US budget to the societal, behavioral and environmental drivers of health. This would permit a more comprehensive, whole-person approach to wellness and health instead of fixing people after they break. This is an important read for policy makers and legislators as well as health care professionals and providers.
In this summary, you will learn
- How American health care – the world’s most expensive – compares poorly in quality and outcomes with most other wealthy nations’ systems; and
- What the US government, health care professionals and providers must do to rebalance the system with greater emphasis on the social, behavioral and preventive aspects of maintaining good health.
About the Author
Robert M. Kaplan is director of research at the Stanford School of Medicine Clinical Excellence Research Center. He was president of the American Psychological Association Division of Health Psychology.