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Slaying The 'Fee-for-Service Monster' Of American Healthcare

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In the United States, healthcare providers are typically paid based on services provided. The more tests a patient undergoes, the bigger the bill.

Vivian Lee, a radiologist and healthcare executive, says this fee-for-service business model needs to be reconsidered.

"You're rewarding people doing things to other people. And actually, in many cases, you're rewarding that regardless of whether it actually improves a person's health. So as long as you do a lot of procedures, as long as you poke and prod patients and do more colonoscopies or operations or administer expensive chemotherapeutic agents, the more you do to them, the more money you make."

Lee is the author of The Long Fix: Solving America's Health Care Crisis With Strategies that Work for Everyone. On this episode of Hidden Brain, Lee joins us to examine how American medicine became so profit driven, and to discuss ways to reach the best health outcomes at the lowest price.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Shankar Vedantam is the host and creator of Hidden Brain. The Hidden Brain podcast receives more than three million downloads per week. The Hidden Brain radio show is distributed by NPR and featured on nearly 400 public radio stations around the United States.
Tara Boyle is the supervising producer of NPR's Hidden Brain. In this role, Boyle oversees the production of both the Hidden Brain radio show and podcast, providing editorial guidance and support to host Shankar Vedantam and the shows' producers. Boyle also coordinates Shankar's Hidden Brain segments on Morning Edition and other NPR shows, and oversees collaborations with partners both internal and external to NPR. Previously, Boyle spent a decade at WAMU, the NPR station in Washington, D.C. She has reported for The Boston Globe, and began her career in public radio at WBUR in Boston.
Parth Shah is a producer and reporter in the Programming department at NPR. He came to NPR in 2016 as a Kroc Fellow.
Jennifer Schmidt is a senior producer for Hidden Brain. She is responsible for crafting the complex stories that are told on the show. She researches, writes, gathers field tape, and develops story structures. Some highlights of her work on Hidden Brain include episodes about the causes of the #MeToo movement, how diversity drives creativity, and the complex psychology of addiction.