Medicare Meets Mephistopheles (Hardback)

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By David Hyman

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About the Book
Let’s say you’re the devil, and you want to corrupt the American republic. How would you go about it? According to David Hyman, you might create something like Medicare, the federal health care program for the elderly.

Hyman submits that Medicare may be the greatest trick the devil ever played. Medicare feeds on the avarice of doctors and other providers, turns seniors into health care gluttons, and makes regions of the United States green with envy over the dollars showered on other regions. The program exploits the sloth of government officials to increase the tax burden on workers and drag down the quality of care for seniors. Medicare makes Democrats lust for socialized medicine, while its imperviousness to reform makes Republicans angrier and angrier. Most of all, Medicare allows its ideological supporters to bleat and preen their way to the heights of moral vanity.

In the style of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, Hyman writes that Medicare has “freed the self-interest of these mortals from its natural restraints. As a result, the seven deadly sins have blossomed.”

With epic political battles over Medicare and the future of limited government looming just over the horizon, Hyman uses satire to cast a critical eye on this mediocre government program.
About the Author
David A. Hyman is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and a professor of law and medicine at the University of Illinois. Hyman serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Law & Medicine.
ISBN: 
1-930865-90-2
Number of Pages: 
138

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What Others Have Said
"In a provocative and penetrating satire, David Hyman trenchantly argues that Medicare was flawed from its inception in a devilish plot to 'corrupt the American Republic' and plunge the country into ruin. Hyman's bracing critique reflects the fact that neither Medicare's problems nor the ascendancy of market-based approaches to solving them can be ignored any longer. Anyone interested in provocative (not to mention satanic) commentary will devour Hyman's monograph. Hyman has a lively and engaging style that he uses to raise perceptive and important questions about health policy."
— PETER D. JACOBSON, J.D., M.P.H writing in the New England Journal of Medicine
Click here to read the full review.

"There is no arguing with Hyman’s facts or first-pass explanations for the phenomena he describes. Nearly all of the key teaching points about Medicare’s history, politics, structure, and vulnerabilities are laid out clearly and concisely. The author’s considerable wit and charm are on full display, making the book a fun as well as an informative read."
— WILLLIAM M. SAGE, Health Affairs
Click here to read the full review.

"I'd happily recommend [the book] to anyone with a basic grasp on health care and a desire to learn a bit more about Medicare. Hyman is a felicitous and fun writer, and he conveys an impressive amount of history and data in as accessible and absorbable a manner as one could hope. I know how tricky it is to make health care a quick and gripping read, and I tip my hat to anyone who is capable of enriching the debate and educating readers by doing so."
— EZRA KLEIN, The American Prospect

"Deliciously funny... Medicare Meets Mephistopheles does an excellent job of driving home the problems with our current Medicare scheme with humor and easy-to-read prose. This book should be on the shelves – and minds – of anyone interested in Medicare (or satire)."
Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics

"Humorous, witty, efficiently written, and above all else, enlightening. Hyman's book is probably the most entertaining critique of Medicare available. He's able to lay down the nuts and bolts of the system, and yet avoid lulling the reader into a coma. He does this through revealing anecdotes, historical asides, and even a joke or two. (Yes, Medicare can be funny.)"
— MIKE VAN WINKLE, Health Care News

"One need not agree with Hyman’s critique of Medicare to see the merit of expressing pro-market criticism in easy-to-read satire. What’s more (and unexpected), you can learn more about the relevant history of this important program in this book’s clear account of its origins, structure, and financing than in scholarly tomes or the impenetrable babble of descriptions of Medicare’s current reforms. A useful volume for Medicare backers as well as detractors."
— PROFESSOR TED MARMOR, Yale University, author of The Politics of Medicare

"David Hyman breaks the mold by presenting the history and dismal future of Medicare with a combination of humor and persuasion. This book is a must read for anyone who is serious about understanding the coming entitlement crisis. Hyman’s reward in the hereafter will be great."
— THOMAS R. SAVING, Public Trustee of Medicare Trust Funds and Director, Private Enterprise Research Center, Texas A&M University

"David Hyman proves that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. That road is a highway dubbed Medicare, and Hyman demonstrates that our good intentions are hastening our journey. He even offers some ideas for voiding our pact with the devil. Whether you ultimately agree or disagree with Hyman’s philosophy, this is a fun and challenging read!"
– PROFESSOR LARRY J. SABATO, Director, University of Virginia Center for Politics, author of Divided States of America

"The book does a great job clarifying some complex Medicare law--the glossary and primer on Fraud and Abuse Laws alone are worth the purchase price."
–FRANK PASQUALE, Associate Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School, writing at www.concurringopinions.com

"Medicare Meets Mephistopheles is a great read and would be a great gift for every physician. I highly recommend that you put it in your waiting room for your patients, as well."
– DR. MARCY ZWELLING, California Medical Association Board of Trustees

"A quick delightful read....If you are into social policy, annual reports, or devilish humor, please give this a read—if only for an hour or so. It’s a short book, but long on description of the Medicare crisis we face now and in the future."
WenchWisdom blog
$9.95