An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back, Elisabeth Rosenthal, 2017
Oy! As Rosenthal says in the Epilogue, “High priced healthcare is America’s sickness and we are all paying, being robbed. When the medical industry presents us with the false choice of your money or your life, it’s time for us all to take a stand for the latter.” She writes passionately and convincingly about how greed has corrupted and threatens to bankrupt ($3 trillion/year being spent on healthcare in America!) our nation, indicting insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, pharma, medical device makers and the government laws and regulations that enable them to enrich themselves at the expense of the patient. After this compelling case for change, however, her suggestions for remedies are feeble. The complexity of the system, the stacked deck against the patient, and perhaps most importantly, the inability of the sick person and the lack of interest of the well-person ensure that this broken system will continue. I was infuriated, frustrated, guilty, and ultimately hopeless in the face of this compelling case against American healthcare. Most personally, I was ashamed of my profession and how it has lost its way. Single payer is not a panacea but it would go a long way towards beginning to rollback the profit motive in healthcare and return the patient to the center of this once noble and now terribly perverted industry.