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The Cost Disease: Why Computers Get Cheaper and Health Care Doesn't

William J. Baumol ; with contributions by David de Ferranti ... [et al.]
New Haven, Conn. ; London : Yale University Press, c2012.
9780300179286 (hbk.), 0300179286 (hbk.)
"The exploding cost of health care in the United States is a source of widespread alarm. Similarly, the upward spiral of college tuition fees is cause for serious concern. In this concise and illuminating book, the well-known economist William J. Baumol explores the causes of these seemingly intractable problems and offers a surprisingly simple explanation. Baumol identifies the "cost disease" as a major source of rapidly rising costs in service sectors of the economy. Once we understand that disease, he explains, effective responses become apparent. Baumol presents his analysis with characteristic clarity, tracing the fast-rising prices of health care and education in the United States and other major industrial nations, then examining the underlying causes, which have to do with the nature of providing labor-intensive services. The news is good, Baumol reassures us, because the nature of the disease is such that society will be able to afford the rising costs."--Publisher's website.
  • Part I: The survivable cost disease. Why health-care costs keep rising ; What causes the cost disease, and will it persist? ; The future has arrived ; Yes, we can afford it ; Dark sides of the disease : terrorism and environmental destruction ; Common misunderstandings of the cost disease : cost versus quality and financial versus "physical" output measures ; The cost disease and global health
  • Part 2: Technical aspects of the cost disease. Hybrid industries and the cost disease ; Productivity growth, employment allocation, and the special case of business services
  • Part 3: Opportunities for cutting health-care costs. Business services in health care ; Yes, we can cut health-care costs even if we cannot reduce their growth rate
  • Conclusions : Where are we headed and what should we do?
xxi, 249 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 207-235) and index.
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