Seventh Annual Lundberg Institute Lecture

“Deconstructing America’s High Priced Healthcare”

The seventh annual Lundberg Institute Lecture welcomes Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, author of “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back.”


Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, is the author of the 2017 New York Times bestseller, “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back.” She was a reporter and senior writer at the New York Times for 22 years, winning numerous awards for her coverage of health and the environment as well as for foreign coverage in China. Her series, “Paying Till it Hurts,” is credited with catalyzing a national conversation on America’s high-priced care. Since 2016, she has been Editor-in-Chief of Kaiser Health News, an independent non-profit newsroom based in Washington DC, focusing on health and health policy.


George Lundberg, MD, Professor, Pathology, Health Research Policy, Stanford University; Editor-at-Large, Medscape; Founder of The Lundberg Institute

An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back,” the talk will look at just that. Everyone knows that the U.S. health system is by far the most expensive in the world, with spending/prices for drugs, procedures and hospitalizations that are many times those in other developed countries. And for all that, we don’t generally get better care or better results. I’ll look at the evolution of the U.S. health system over the last 3 decades and how it moved from a caring endeavor to a financially driven system where profit rather than patient good was the prime motivation. I’ll trace how commercial forces and interests were allowed to insinuate themselves into medical practice, step-by-step, so no one protested much…or even noticed…until the prices got sky high. We now live in a system where medical machinery comes with brochures on how to recoup return-on-investment and ambulance companies as well as dialysis units are owned by venture capital firms.  But the ultimate message is one of optimism and hope. Once patients-voters-consumers understand how the system functions and how our healthcare has been hijacked for profit, the book offers many ways to push back, to begin untangling the mess we’re in. I discuss some of those, from strategies to protect your wallet when you enter the hospital or doctor’s office to reforms that should be voter issues at the state and national level. I believe that if patients and physicians stand up for medicine we will get better, cheaper care. The books ends: “Given the false choice between your money or your life, it’s time to take a stand for the latter.