Critical Condition: How Health Care In America Became Big Business-And Bad Medicine:


Title: Critical Condition: How Health Care In America Became Big Business-And Bad Medicine:

Authors: Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele

ISBN: 038550453

The following review was contributed by:NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of Bookpleasures:

REVIEW

Investigative reporters and the only journalists in history to be awarded two Pulitzer Prizes and two National Magazine Awards, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele have presented a riveting exposť of the critical state of the health system in the United States with their book Critical Condition: How Health Care In America Became Big Business-And Bad Medicine.

Beginning with the assertion that American health care has been transposed from one of compassion to a system motivated by profit- the authors present a distressing analysis as to what went wrong. Where forty-four million citizens do not have health insurance, and tens of millions more are underinsured. And yet there seems to be this enduring myth propagated by many that the USA has a "world- class health system."

As mentioned by the authors, the USA spends more on health care than any other nation, when you compare it to Germany, France, Japan, Italy, and Canada. However, in these countries citizens do not think twice about seeking care if they are ill. They do not worry who will foot the bills.

In the USA, it has become a lottery. If you are fortunate to be employed by a large company providing generous health benefits, you win. On the other hand, if you are self-employed or work for a small enterprise providing little or no coverage, you lose. You may even go bankrupt and lose your home in order to pay your medical bills.

Relying on interviews, studies from various organizations as the World Health Organization, the US department of Health and Human Services, legal suits, brokerage reports, congressional hearings, newspaper articles, magazine stories, SEC filings, professional journals, and a resevoir of many other sources (all of which are mentioned in the Notes section at the back of the book), the authors deliver legitimate arguments illustrating how an assortment of factors have crawled into the system with calamitous effects.

Broken down into six chapters, Barlett and Steele judiciously examine some of these elements as: rampant overcharging of patients who do not have insurance, dissuading people from purchasing drugs from Canada with false information concerning the Canadian pharmaceutical industry, caving into the demands of special interest groups, the non-existence of independent monitoring of diagnostic test results and hospital mistakes, permitting politicians and business people to assume key roles to the detriment of the welfare of the citizens, a culture of cronyism giving rise to blatant fraud in many instances, doctors having to deal with conditions apt to be found in undeveloped countries, peopled shuffled around by individuals who do not have the foggiest notion as to how to deal with them.

In addition, we are informed of how private enterprises connected with Wall Street financiers and Madison Avenue advertising firms have been permitted to join in as if health care was analogous to the selling of cars or MacDonald's franchises. As the authors rightfully ask: "Is this what health care in America has become?"

Although the authors portray a certain amount of cynicism, there is a glimmer of hope, as evidenced by the concluding chapter, wherein suggestions are offered as to how to revamp the ailing system.

However, the question lingers on. Will Americans reconsider their values, priorities, budgets and options and elect people, who will first and foremost take care of its citizens when it comes to health care? Something most civilized nations do.

Norm Goldman is Editor of the book reviewing site, www.bookpleasures.com">http://www.bookpleasures.com and the travel site, www.sketchandtravel.com.">http://www.sketchandtravel.com.

Norm is also a regular contributor to many book reviewing sites. You can read Norm's book reviews on his book reviewing site bookpleasures.com.

Norm and his artist wife Lily are a unique husband and wife team who meld art with words focusuing on unique romantic and wedding destinations. To learn more about them click on their site at www.sketchandtravel.com">http://www.sketchandtravel.com


MORE RESOURCES:
Veteran journalist Cokie Roberts, who joined an upstart NPR in 1978 and left an indelible imprint on the growing network with her coverage of Washington politics before later going to ABC News, has died. She was 75.

Roberts died Tuesday because of complications from breast cancer, according to a family statement. A bestselling author and Emmy Award winner, Roberts was one of NPR's most recognizable voices and is considered one of a handful of pioneering female journalists — along with Nina Totenberg, Linda Wertheimer and Susan Stamberg — who helped shape the public broadcaster's sound and culture at a time when few women held prominent roles in journalism.

Indie press Galley Beggar has warned of the impact a no-deal Brexit could have on publishing after learning of "crazy" government requirements on distribution and warned it could put smaller publishers out of business.

The Norwich-based independent, which recently scored a Booker Prize nomination with Lucy Ellmann's Ducks, Newburyport, fears smaller publishers could be put out of business over legal uncertainty around Brexit.

Galley Beggar founder Sam Jordison outlined concerns around UK government and Publishers' Association guidance, and in particular government guidance suggesting that publishers will need to state country of origin or International Organization of Standardization (ISO) codes for their inventory. The government published its Yellowhammer contingency plan which details "worst case" scenarios for a no-deal Brexit last week. The document warned of channel crossing delays and disrupted trade across the Irish border...

... "We're terrified, we are genuinely terrified. There's all kinds of other reasons to object to Brexit but from a practical point of view it's going to completely screw us. The main concern is that this is potentially going to put people out of business. Not even potentially, it is going to put people out of business. Our margins are small so rising costs are already a nightmare – that's only going to get worse. Paper, transport are going to go up – even with a deal that stuff is problematic." ...

Elena Ferrante, the Italian author whose Neapolitan novels became a global phenomenon, is to publish a new book in Italy on 7 November – her first novel in four years.

Bestselling author Jojo Moyes has called on the government and the publishing industry to do more about the UK's "shameful" adult literacy record. In 2018, Moyes, writer of global hits including Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind, donated three years of funding to charity the Reading Agency for its Quick Reads scheme, saving it from closure when its previous sponsorship ran out.

While she was "proud to be able to help out as a private individual", she is furious at what she calls governmental and industry failure to understand the importance of Quick Reads.

Dorothea Benton Frank, author of 20 novels set in the Charleston area and a beloved figure who for years split her time between Sullivan's Island and the New York City area, died Monday evening after a brief illness. She was 67.

Amazon has broken the worldwide embargo on Margaret Atwood's The Testaments (Nan A. Talese), which isn't supposed to go on sale until next Tuesday, September 10, inadvertently shipping about 800 copies to customers. This has infuriated indies, led to early reviews of the book around the world--revealing basic elements, and caused exclusive excerpts to be published earlier than planned. Altogether, the embargo violation stained the release of one of the biggest books of the fall season, Atwood's long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid's Tale.

In response to the situation, publisher Penguin Random House issued this statement: "A very small number of copies of Margaret Atwood's The Testaments were distributed early due to a retailer error which has now been rectified.... Not naming Amazon and attributing the problem to "a retailer error" irritated many indie booksellers for a number of reasons: some pointed out that if their stores had sold copies of the book early, it would be considered an embargo violation and likely lead to punishments, such as not receiving embargoed books ahead of publication date in the future. Many speculated PRH will not do anything of the sort with Amazon.

In a series of tweets, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan., succinctly outlined the problem:

"It should come as no surprise that a certain huge online retailer is selling this book very close to our cost; if we sold it at their price we'd make $1.73 per copy. We've discussed before how this is unfair, and how we deal with it.

But now, not only is the huge online retailer selling it for a price we can't compete with, but they shipped out copies a week early. This increases the likelihood that someone who got it early uploads a bootleg copy online, cutting into sales for everyone.

It also gave de facto permission to places like the New York Times and NPR to publish spoiler-heavy reviews, which deflates the mysterious buzz about what's in the book. It's likely that less mystery means less vital first-week sales for everyone. I hope we're wrong."


Chanel Miller was known by the pseudonym Emily Doe at the trial of Stanford student Brock Turner, who was sentenced to six months in county jail for the assault. The sentence caused widespread anger given that Turner could have been jailed for up to 14 years for the crime. Many believed Turner had been given a lenient sentence because he was a white athlete from a prominent university, Stanford. Turner repeatedly claimed alcohol was to blame and that the encounter was consensual, while his father called the attack "20 minutes of action".

Miller is now releasing a memoir, Know My Name, which her publisher says will "change the way we think about sexual assault forever". Miller's 7,000-word statement at the trial garnered millions of views around the world when it was published online in 2016. She will also appear on CBS's 60 Minutes later this month and extracts from the interview, including Miller reading the statement, have been released this week.

Hundreds of readers in the US have received early copies of Margaret Atwood's heavily embargoed follow-up to The Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments, after copies were shipped out early by Amazon.

Security around the novel had been as tight as anything mounted for JK Rowling or Dan Brown's blockbuster releases – the judges for the Booker prize, who shortlisted The Testaments for the award on Wednesday, were warned they would be held liable if their watermarked copies leaked. But since Tuesday, readers have been posting images on Twitter of their freshly delivered copies, a week before the novel's official release on 10 September.

And The Guardian have just published an (officially approved) excerpt--see link below:

The shortlist for The Booker Prize, the U.K.'s top prize for fiction, has been announced. The list includes two former winners, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie--even though Atwood's book doesn't publish until next week:

Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)

Lucy Ellmann (U.S./U.K.), Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)

Bernardine Evaristo (U.K.), Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)

Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)

Salman Rushdie (U.K./India) Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)

Elif Shafak (U.K./Turkey) 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)

Reese Witherspoon has named Lara Prescott's debut novel The Secrets We Kept as her September book club choice. This thrilling historical fiction, which publishes on September 3, is inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago. The Secrets We Kept is also a great hit with the 20 BookBrowse members who reviewed it for our First Impressions program--rating it a stellar 4.7 stars!

thatware.org ©