What is the connection between ancient religious temples and the high cost of health care in America today? James Stacey, the widely respected director of the AMA's Division of Media and Information Services, who is conversant with current debates about reining in health care costs, tells us in a challenging format.
He likens modern hospitals and the attendant medical establishment to medieval cathedrals built at great expense to the masses. The builders, religious zealots, promised a long and wonderful life, now and in the hereafter, to those who entered—and who paid their hard-earned contributions. Stacey believes our current health care establishment has built a huge edifice (temple) and has promised much more than can be delivered at a reasonable cost. Who is the villain? Stacey believes it is modern medical technology: the drugs, tests, machines, and operations that make this an era of hope for millions, yet cost and cost.