Former President & CEO, INTEGRIS Health

Book Review: “Political Malpractice – How the Politicians Made a Mess of Health Reform”

Published April 15, 2012
The Oklahoman
by Don Mecoy, Senior Business Writer

Stanley F. Hupfeld, longtime CEO of Integris Health, wrote a book to save his television set. Growing increasingly frustrated with the political sound bites and cable TV coverage surrounding the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” Hupfeld starting writing rather than throw something at his TV. 

Stanley Hupfeld

The result is “Political Malpractice: How the Politicians Made a Mess of Health Reform” (Tate Publishing, $12.99, paperback), a fine primer for Americans wanting to know more about health reform. Hupfeld believes we are poorly served by the political rhetoric and cable TV news pundits involving “the often-uninformed rantings of those among us with the largest megaphones.”Hupfeld spreads his criticism evenly on both parties during the health care reform debate.

“On the most critical decision of this generation, we have let the least knowledgeable among us dictate the limits of our thought process,” he writes.

Hupfeld, thankfully, didn’t limit his thought process in producing “Political Malpractice.” The slim book, just 168 pages including foreword, preface and bibliography, is packed full of interesting tidbits and ideas.

Hupfeld recounts how the U.S. health care system developed into its unique status, what the major problems are with the current system, and how incentives in the current system affect doctors, insurers, hospitals, drug companies and patients — often in bad ways. He also offers a laundry list of potential solutions.

Along the way, he punctures some myths, including whether or not America has the best health care system in the world, and ponders tough questions about end-of-life care, and care for those who choose not to pay for health insurance. The book’s final pages contain a list of 14 recommendations, beginning with a one-year public debate aimed at providing information and listening to the concerns of Americans. Other concepts Hupfeld offers are a nonprofit insurance industry and standardization of medical records, both aimed at reducing waste.Implementation of Hupfeld’s innovative ideas wouldn’t be easy — and might be impossible from a political standpoint. But Hupfeld, with nearly 40 years service as a CEO of American hospitals, certainly carries more credibility than most of those leading the current debate.Hupfeld wrote the book for us — the common folk — many of whom are confused and scared by the politically charged debate designed more for scoring debating points than providing information.“Political Malpractice” is a dose of good medicine from one of the state’s most highly regarded leaders in the health care field.Read more:
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