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Can We Say No?

The Challenge of Rationing Health Care

Can We Say No?
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US$ 19.95

Over the past four decades, the share of income devoted to health care in the United States has nearly tripled. If current policy remains unchanged, this worrisome trend is likely to continue. Should Americans decide to rein in the growth of health care spending, on the other hand, they will be forced to consider whether to ration care for the well insured—a prospect that is odious and unthinkable to many.

In Can We Say No?, Henry Aaron and William B. Schwartz argue that sensible health care rationing not only can save money, but that it can improve general welfare and public health, as well. The book reviews Great Britain’s experience with health care rationing. The choices the British have made point up the nature of the options Americans will face if they wish to prevent public health care budgets from driving taxes even higher and private health care spending from crowding out increases in other forms of worker compensation and consumption.

Aaron and Schwartz, along with Melissa Cox, explain why serious consideration of health care rationing is advisable, even inescapable. Can We Say No? provides the information policymakers and concerned citizens need to think clearly about these difficult issues, engage in an informed debate, and formulate responsible, sustainable health care policies.

Brookings Institution Press; October 2005
217 pages; ISBN 9780815797944
Read online, or download in secure PDF format