Medicare: Where is the Common Sense? A Review of Medicare Meets Mephistopheles
Robin Fretwell Wilson
University of Illinois College of Law
Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Vol. 34, No. 4, p. 821, Winter 2006
Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2007-11
In his deliciously funny book, Medicare Meets Mephistopheles (Cato 2006), Professor David Hyman argues that Medicare corrupts our most base impulses - urging us to grab for more than our fair share of benefits while offering providers "the prospect of staggering amounts of money - even as ... actuaries were promising Congress that the Medicare program would be easily affordable." Modeled on C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, Professor Hyman's satirical examination of Medicare is sprinkled with political cartoons, absurd (but true) stories of Medicare's over-the-top fraud enforcement efforts, and a historical account of Medicare's genesis replete with Congressmen and strippers. Medicare Meets Mephistopheles gives us a well-researched and easy-to-read primer on the biggest pot of gold in medicine. While we are not as certain as Professor Hyman is that Medicare's limitations rise to the level of mortal sins, Medicare's tendency to encourage over-consumption, its thousands of pages of "guidance," miles of red tape, and insane enforcement scheme are not serving the American public well. It just doesn't make any sense. Medicare Meets Mephistopheles should be required reading for students in courses ranging from health law to nursing.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 27, 2007
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