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Don't Let Health Care Bankrupt America

"Don't Let Health Care Bankrupt America lays out a practical agenda of reforms needed to maintain and improve the quality of health care in this country without imposing ruinous costs on ourselves and our children. The message is clear: our health system must be re-engineered to produce health care that is appropriate, high value, and efficient. George Halvorson argues that we need to reform the business of health and bring the patient to the front of the line when deciding how health care should be delivered. The opportunities are numerous, but they require a real willingness to make change rather than to adopt new slogans.

Real patient-centered care, smarter use of electronic medical records, better care coordination, price transparency combined with price relevancy, bundled payment in place of piece-rate pricing, accountability and personal responsibility, and the adoption of smarter competition-based approaches to Medicare and Medicaid are on the agenda for system-wide improvement. George Halvorson speaks with three decades of experience in managing health systems, and he practices what he preaches. We would do well to heed that advice."

               ~Joseph Antos, Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at the American Enterprise Institute


"George C. Halvorson’s Don’t Let Health Care Bankrupt America is written by one of America’s most distinguished health care executives, one who spent the bulk of his professional career as an executive of large health systems. He cannot be written off as just one more Ivory Tower health-policy wonk, as academic commentators on U.S. health care are so often dismissed.

The value of the book is that it is based on intimate, hands-on knowledge of how U.S. health care actually works. I personally have long recommended the model Halvorson has managed for many years – the Kaiser Permanent model – to policy makers in other countries.

All Americans should read this insightful book, written with a blend of passion for a better health system and the practical experience to give Halvorson’s recommendations credibility.

The leaders of American health care, in particular, should read it, as a reminder that, for all of the great value they undoubtedly do bestow on patients, their often wasteful practices are triggering intolerably high social opportunity costs."

               ~Ewe Reinhardt, James Madison Professor of Political Economy, Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University


"George Halvorson is not only a leading pioneer in organizing patient-centered health care. He also, through this book, presents us with an effective road map so America can achieve high-quality, good-value health care. The book combines the best in theory and practicality so we can all contribute to continual improvements for our nation's health and health care."

               ~Ron Pollack, executive director, Families USA (the national organization for health care consumers


"This book appreciates the fact that we should anchor the country's care improvement strategies in better health."

               ~Dr. Dean Ornish, founder and president, Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, SF


"This book presents a comprehensive approach to reducing runaway health care costs by restructuring the business model to facilitate the re-engineering of care delivery. It is a primer on taming the elephant that has eluded more limited, quick fix approaches. It reminds us that we really do get what we pay for, and we are currently paying for sick care instead of keeping people well." 

               ~Stephen M. Shortell, Ph.D., MBA, MPH; Blue Cross of California Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Management


Don’t Let Health Care Bankrupt America is available now on, as are Halvorson’s recently published titles: Ending Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Disparities in American Health Care and KP Inside – 101 Letters to Us at Kaiser Permanente, plus additional works he has authored during his health care career. Halvorson has also written four books about instinctive intergroup behaviors and a new book about brain development in Children. The five new books are all available for reading at no charge on this website and are also available for purchase from Amazon. The books are Three Key Years, Primal Pathways, Cusp of Chaos, The Art of Intergroup Peace, and Peace In Our Time.