In his debut, Perry, a practicing physician for 40 years, examines the ailing American health care system and proposes a solution.
The author lists the reasons why health care has become such a nightmare, showing how, while well intended, Medicare and the HMO Act actually drove up costs. One of his primary conclusions is that the government can’t run health care. He then unveils a comprehensive program called The Freedom Plan, which has as its underlying principle a return to cost consciousness. In this multifaceted plan, the author advocates eliminating the tax deduction employers receive for the health insurance plans they provide for their employees. This will cause businesses to shift more of the health care costs to workers. Anyone who maintains a health insurance policy is eligible to receive a yearly tax credit. By accepting that tax credit, one commits to raising his or her minimum deductible on the policy. Perry believes that as people become more sensitive to costs, they will begin to shop around for the best price for health care services. Providers would theoretically respond by lowering the cost of their services to attract more business. The book is a well-written, thoughtful look at a thorny problem, and the author displays a light, breezy style and wit. (One of the only missteps is the use of repetitive analogies.) It’s refreshing to see a health care solution offered by a physician rather than a political solution vetted or savaged by others, such as the Clinton 1993 Health Care Reform Plan that was whipsawed by both health care–industry supporters and opponents. The Freedom Plan certainly sounds good on paper, but unfortunately, it’s likely to be DOA if it ever gets to the point of serious consideration. The plan steps on too many political land mines, calling for, among other things, the gradual phasing out of Medicare, reform of the federal tax code and an end to physician licensing.
A problematic prescription for an infirm industry.