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29/11/2016

Έκδοση του νέου βιβλίου του Ομ. Καθηγητή του Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών κου Λ. Λιαρόπουλου

Στο τέλος Οκτώβρη κυκλοφόρησε στην Αμερική το βιβλίο του Ομότιμου Καθηγητή Οργάνωσης και Οικονομικών της Υγείας του Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών κου Λ. Λιαρόπουλου, «U.S.A. Health: A Failing System, A Threat to Society and the Economy». Ακολουθεί ο πρόλογος του βιβλίου. Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες μπορείτε να απευθυνθείτε στον συγγραφέα μέσω της ηλεκτρονικής διεύθυνσης lliaropo@nurs.uoa.gr.

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Λ. Λιαρόπουλος, Ομ. Καθ. Οργάνωσης & Οικονομικών της Υγείας του Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών

PREFACE

I left the US in 1974, after eleven wonderful years there. First a student, then a researcher in the State Government in Michigan. As an academic, in Greece, I continued to have a strong interest in the country to which I owe my best and formative years. Being a “political animal,” I followed the political scene. What struck me most were the lines of voters in the 2012 presidential election. I had never seen such a huge number of really fat, almost obese, people together. I remember wondering, What is happening to this country? Among the things that make the US health system dangerous, none is more disturbing than what I call its “institutional indifference” for the health of Americans. [1]

Change must happen in American health, but the question is, what change and how? The recent Obamacare experience, after the Clinton attempt in 1993, should teach politicians and the American public a lesson. The core element of the Clinton National Health Insurance plan was an enforced mandate for employers to provide coverage to their employees. The reaction at the time came from many—conservatives, libertarians, the health insurance industry—but mainly, from small business. They killed it before it was born.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), fifteen years later, puts the burden of private health insurance on individuals, with the government chipping in. Obamacare, with the Supreme Court stamp, works so far, but still millions are without insurance. At the same time, the ineffectiveness of the health-care system in terms of the health of Americans, its gross inefficiencies resulting in  huge costs, its inequity coupled with increasing income inequality, and, as revealed lately, its unsustainability, leave much to be desired.

The main point in this book is that the “gradual creep” to universal coverage and national health insurance, which started timidly with the ACA, must be completed, as America can no longer afford the present alternative. One fifth of GDP spent in one sector alone should be a matter not for academic debate but for serious economic policy scrutiny. To spend three trillion dollars to support the health care and insurance industries while Americans get fatter, sicker, and with a shorter life expectancy than elsewhere in the developed world, is not something to be proud of. Nor are employers happy when their competitiveness suffers due to no fault of their own. Politics be damned, America deserves an efficient, effective, equitable, and affordable health system. This book is about what and how.

[1] This may change, but not for health reasons. In its October 24, 2015 issue, The Economist wonders on the cover page “Too Fat to be an American Soldier?” Besides many other problems that now make it difficult for the Army to find new recruits, a certain Lieutenant Colonel Tony Parilli is quoted as saying, “a bigger problem is that America is obese.”

 

 

 

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