Alfred Sommer

Getting What We Deserve

A leading public health expert presents a frank diagnosis of the U.S. healthcare system and the role we all play in our own wellness.
Through his groundbreaking work in clinical medicine and public health, Alfred Sommer has saved countless lives. But doctors can only do so much. In this blunt assessment of the American healthcare system, Sommer argues that human behavior has a stronger effect on wellness than almost any other factor.
Despite exciting advances in genomic research and cutting-edge medicine, the best defense against most illness remains simple, low-tech habits such as proper hand washing, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and not smoking. But rather than focusing on wellness, many Americans would rather wait for medical science to cure them once they become sick. Sommer argues that this overconfidence in medical technology comes at a terrible cost.
The benefits of almost all newly developed treatments are marginal, while their costs are high. The United States spends nearly twice as much on health care as the rest of the developed world, yet has higher infant mortality rates and shorter longevity than most nations. In this engaging and well-informed study, Sommer makes a persuasive chase for changing the way Americans approach healthcare.
178 printed pages
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