Excerpt: 'The Truth About Getting Sick in America' by Dr. Timothy Johnson

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Is health care a right or a privilege? Is there any moral obligation for our nation to provide health care to all? In this chapter I will put on my ministerial collar— I am also an ordained Protestant minister— and explore some of the teachings from my own religious tradition that might speak to these questions.

CHAPTER FIVE: THE BIG PREDICTION:

Here, I will be brutally honest in predicting what I think will actually happen to our health care in the long term and what would be needed to truly control costs and improve quality.

Throughout the book, I will also discuss how some of the ideas in the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (usually described by opponents as ObamaCare) might affect our future health care. I will not go into an in-depth analysis of that new legislation, because most of the essential details will certainly change over time. In other words, this book is about essential principles rather than policy details.

My intent is to be as honest as humanly possible about the problems we face with American health care. I have no political axe to grind. I am independent in my political judgments; I vote for the person, not the party. Yes, like any human being, I do have opinions, even biases. But I hope they are informed by facts and figures, not by fables or fiction.

You will have to decide for yourself. Now that I am no longer the full- time Medical Editor of ABC News, I can more freely express my opinions on this vital subject.

My goal is to help you understand what I think are some of the most important issues that need to be addressed by any honest proposals to reform our health care. I hope to foster a dialogue that will get all of us— whatever our particular political or social opinions— talking seriously about how we can help to solve the problems we face. So let's get going.

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