Hospitals

A fiction writer’s dissection of the healthcare cost blame game is surprisingly thoughtful (and entertaining)


John Green is a fiction writer by trade. So it seems suspect that he would narrate this fact-heavy rant on why healthcare costs are so high in the U.S.

But he’s also a great storyteller. Citing facts from The Incidental Economist, The Commonwealth Fund’s Issues in International Health Policy and The New York Times, the entertaining author and vlogger Green makes a case against blaming malpractice insurance, obesity and “obvious inefficiencies” for the U.S.’s healthcare cost problem.

The real culprit? Green says we don’t negotiate as aggressively as other countries with providers, drug manufacturers and medical device companies for lower prices. “Providers charge what they think they can get away with, and they can get away with a lot because it’s really difficult to put a price on, like, not dying,” he explains.

Whether you agree with that assessment or not, the moral of the story is worth repeating. “I am so tired of people offering up simple explanations for what’s wrong with our healthcare system,” Green proclaims. “It’s vital that we grapple with it meaningfully instead of  just treating healthcare costs as political theater.”

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