Techlogical invation is deeply woven into the fabric of American culture, and is less a basic feature of American health care. Medical techlogy saves lives and relieves suffering, and is ermously popular with the public, profitable for doctors, and a source of great wealth for industry. Yet its costs are rising at a dangerously unsustainable rate. The control of techlogy costs poses a terrible ethical and policy dilemma. How can we deny people what they may need to live and flourish? Yet is it t also harmful to let rising costs strangle our health care system, eventually harming everyone? In Taming the Beloved Beast, esteemed medical ethicist Daniel Callahan confronts this dilemma head-on. He argues that we can't escape it by organizational changes alone. Nothing less than a fundamental transformation of our thinking about health care is needed to achieve lasting and ecomically sustainable reform. The techlogy bubble, he contends, is beginning to burst. Callahan weighs the ethical arguments for and against limiting the use of medical techlogies, and he argues that reining in health care costs requires us to change entrenched values about progress and techlogical invation. Taming the Beloved Beast shows that the cost crisis is as great as that of the uninsured. Only a government-regulated universal health care system can offer the hope of managing techlogy and making it affordable for all.
Daniel Callahan is senior researcher and president emeritus at the Hastings Center, which he cofounded, and an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. His many books include Medicine and the Market .
Short-listed for Library Journal Best Reference Source Award 2009.