• Surgeon and author Dr. Marty Makary addresses the health care system’s brokenness and offers a hopeful take on how it can be solved in his upcoming book “The Price We Pay.”
  • Makary is a health policy expert at Johns Hopkins University who published The New York Times bestseller “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care” in 2013.
  • “If you understand the money games that go on in medicine, that helps you understand how to get a better deal,” Makary told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

As Democrats turn on the Affordable Care Act in favor of Medicare for all and Republicans seem split on how to fix the American health care system, surgeon and health policy professor Dr. Marty Makary addresses the system’s brokenness and offers a hopeful take on how it can be solved in his upcoming book “The Price We Pay.”

Makary sat down with the Daily Caller News Foundation ahead of the Sept. 10 release of “The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care ⁠— and How to Fix It.”

“If you understand the money games that go on in medicine, that helps you understand how to get a better deal,” Makary told the DCNF. “It’s the disruptors I wanted to highlight.”

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He wants readers to use his book to get better deals on health care expenses for themselves and, if applicable, the businesses they run. Makary is an advocate for greater price transparency in health care, and the issue is personal for him. He sees a correlation between declining trust in the health care industry and trust in doctors themselves.

“I’m concerned that the price gouging in medicine is eroding the public trust in the medical profession. Medicine is an amazing profession. It’s an art. It goes back thousands of years. … We physicians have lost control of the money flow,” Makary said.

Makary is a health policy expert at Johns Hopkins University who published The New York Times bestseller “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care” in 2013. He has also advised the Obama and Trump administrations on health care, including discussing surprise medical bills with the White House ahead of Trump’s May executive order on the topic.

“Even in medical school, we’re taught medical literacy, but not health care literacy,” he said. “Here’s some basic principles everybody should know. One is you can get a better deal on your health insurance. You can get a better deal on your pharmacy benefit plan and save a lot of money. People should be aware of the co-op options, including faith-based co-ops. They should know that medical bills by and large are highly negotiable.”

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Like members of the Trump administration, Makary talks a lot about transparency in health care pricing. He said he is baffled by arguments against greater price transparency in health care and said he wouldn’t want to buy tickets from an airline that would only tell him the price of his ticket after he landed. Not all health care consumers will price shop, but those who do will keep prices in check, Makary said. He said proxy shoppers like employers are especially positioned to do this.

Makary sees health care solutions arising from the private sector. His ideas are in direct contrast to the rhetoric of many 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, who want to disconnect employees’ health care from their jobs and concentrate more control of health care in the government’s hands.

“It is strange that your health insurance is tied to your employer, and it’s tragic when people are afraid to switch jobs because of fear of changing health care benefits. … The system we have is employer-based health care. That’s the reality, and employers can be powerful proxy shoppers of value in health care,” Makary said.

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