Jan 17, 2022
The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care And How To Fix It by Marty Makary, MD is a book that takes a hard look at aspects of the US healthcare system that drive up the costs of premiums and other patient out-of-pocket costs. Makary looks at PBMs, broker payments, hospital billing and financial recovery practices and inappropriate procedures to name a few. Regardless of where you work in the healthcare system, you may find yourself getting defensive one moment and nodding your head in agreement in another.
What Makary is after at the end of the day is price transparency which he believes will help bring healthcare costs down. The author makes many good points in the book about hidden costs that drive significant profitability for one party while the other party is in the dark. Typically, price transparency levels the playing field between seller and buyer and enables new market entrants to redefine a business model that offers service at a lower cost.
Price transparency isn’t exactly a thrilling topic but Makary is a brilliant writer whose writing and storytelling is on par with exceptionally good journalists. I couldn’t put the book down. The reader will not agree with every point that Makary makes. However, many would agree that we are at the tipping point for price transparency, some of which will come about due to regulation and other aspects will be driven by market competitiveness. Health care leaders must rethink their business models due to transparency changes and it’s prudent to take a close look at major areas in need of an overhaul. The Price We Pay by Makary is an informative book to read to level set on how we operate today and to remind us how costly, continuing many of these practices can be in the future.