Shock Therapy for the American Health Care System
Why Comprehensive Reform Is Needed
by Robert A. Levine, MD
July 2009, 186pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38068-6
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38069-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

America’s health care system is sick. Trillions in Medicare and Medicaid mandates, hundreds of billions spent on administrative costs annually, and hundreds of billions more on treatments people don’t need. But there is a cure—a series of steps that could bring sanity to the system, even achieve universal coverage—and it won’t cost the taxpayers a dime.

Shock Therapy For the American Health Care System describes the problems of the health care system and offers a program of comprehensive reform that is more far-reaching than anything currently being proposed.

From a veteran physician comes this remarkably clear-eyed look at what’s wrong with how we adminster and pay for health care and what can be done to fix it.

In Shock Therapy for the American Health Care System: Why Comprehensive Reform Is Needed, Dr. Robert Levine offers an easily understandable diagnosis of the problems plaguing our current health care infrastructure, with discussions that include the roles of various stakeholders—insurance companies, “big pharma,” hospitals, health care providers, and patients. He also dispels a number of myths designed to make voters leery of any reform efforts. Levine’s comprehensive plan addresses everything from bloated bureaucracies to unnecessary procedures to the handling of negligence and malpractice lawsuits/claims. Throughout, Levine backs his proposals with facts and comparisons to systems in various countries, and concludes that even now, with disaster looming, the ultimate goal of providing health insurance for every American is achievable and affordable.


  • Provides bibliographies for each of the nine chapters
  • Six tables and graphs provide an easy way to understand essential data
Dr. Robert Levine is a neurologist in private practice in Norwalk, CT, former chief of neurology at Norwalk Hospital, and associate clinical professor of medicine at Yale University (ret). His published works include Aging With Attitudee: Growing Older with Dignity and Vitality and Defying Dementia: Understanding and Preventing Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders.


"A veteran physician offers an insider’s perspective on problems in the present system for administering and paying for health care. His program of reform is more far-reaching than anything currently being proposed, and, he maintains, would provide universal coverage at no additional cost. Writing in accessible language for general readers, Levine, former chief of neurology at Norwalk Hospital and retired professor of medicine at Yale University, dispels common myths about health care reform, and reveals the roles of the various stakeholders in our current health care infrastructure: insurance companies, big pharma, hospitals, the medical device industry, health care providers, and patients. He identifies areas in the current system where huge savings could be realized, and backs up his proposals with facts and comparisons to systems in other countries. Tables and graphs provide summaries of data."—SciTech Book News, September 1, 2009

". . .[Levin's] cogent analysis, rooted in historical, medical, systemic, and political realities, places it above other books in the genre. Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."—Choice, February 1, 2010

"Robert Levine's book is a timely addition to the ongoing debate, and, even though not everyone will agree with his proposed fix, he systematically covers the issues at hand and offers possible solutions. . . . Although the book is not a fast read—each chapter is dense with thought-provoking facts and well-articulated ideas—I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the issues that plague the U.S. health care system." —Journal of the American Medical Association, August 11, 2010

"Dr. Robert A. Levine has written a timely and provocative book on the health care crisis in the United States. Based on his 30 plus years of experience as a practicing neurologist, Dr. Levine has witnessed many changes in the delivery of medical care in our country, some good and some not so good. In his eminently readable style, he reviews the history of medical training in our country, the development of our current-day hospital system and the many problems he and others have detected in our medical insurance nightmare. Dr. Levine offers his thoughts on potential solutions to help improve health care delivery and backs up his advice with carefully researched data. This book is a must-read for both health care providers and consumers."—Peter F. Cohn, MD
Professor of Medicine, the State University of New York, Stony Brook, Chairman of Cardiology, Emeritus

"Bob Levine has written a highly intelligent and provocative analysis of the current 'out of control' state of the United States health care system. He provides a comprehensive view of how the country got into this mess and proposes a controversial creature 'Universal Medicare' to cure the problem. Many will find his chapters on the Evolution of The American Health Care System informative, his analysis of the current problems clear, and his proposed solution daring. Worth the read."—Leopold Swergold
Retired manager of a Health Care Hedge Fund
Formerly, Head of Health Care Investment Banking, NYSE firm
Formerly, Founder and CEO of an Investment Banking Firm dedicated to the Health Care Industry.
Trustee of a major New York City Hospital System

"Dr. Levine has done a wonderful job laying out the issues relating to the American health care system. While our media have been filled with angst regarding the 'crisis' in our health care system, he carefully explains what the crisis is all about. It is written in a lively manner that will appeal to scholars, legislators, health care professionals and lay readers alike. After spelling out some significant myths that are held by the public and by policy makers and that will make reform unlikely unless they are revealed, he objectively describes the evolution of the current system and the roles played in it by physicians, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, the trial bar and others, all of whom with significant material and professional stakes in shaping or resisting any possible reforms. As both a researcher and practicing neurologist his goal is to set the table for a series of reforms that he believes can bring modern health care practices to those in need of medical assistance, in a rational, cost-effective and egalitarian manner. Dr. Levine’s proposal is at heart pragmatic, rejecting the dogmatic prescriptions of those who argue that the solutions must either be market-based or fully government owned and managed. His proposal for reform is well worth considering and debating, though it is probable that it will run into controversy from many of the special interest groups. It is likely that this book will play a role as the debate over health care reform heats up."—Peter S, Barth, PhD
Professor of Economics, Emeritus, the University of Connecticut
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