Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis -- and the People Who Pay the Priceby Jonathan Cohn
Pub. Date: 04/10/2007
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
America's health care system is unraveling. Every day, millions of hard-working people struggle to find affordable medical treatment for themselves and their families—unable to pay for prescription drugs and regular checkups, let alone hospital visits. Some of these people end up losing money. Others end up losing something even more valuable: their
America's health care system is unraveling. Every day, millions of hard-working people struggle to find affordable medical treatment for themselves and their families—unable to pay for prescription drugs and regular checkups, let alone hospital visits. Some of these people end up losing money. Others end up losing something even more valuable: their health or even their lives. In this powerful work of original reportage, Jonathan Cohn travels across the United States—the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee access to medical care as a right of citizenship—to investigate why this crisis is happening and to see firsthand its impact on ordinary Americans.
The stories he brings back are tragic and infuriating. In Boston, a heart attack victim becomes a casualty of emergency room overcrowding when she is turned away from the one hospital that could treat her. In South Central L.A., a security guard loses part of his vision when he can't find affordable treatment for his diabetes. In the middle of the prairie heartland, a retired meatpacker sells his house to pay for the medications that keep him and his aging wife alive. And, in a tiny village tucked into the Catskill mountains, a mother of three young children decides against a costly doctor's visit—and lets a deadly cancer go undetected—because her husband's high-tech job no longer provides health insurance.
Passionate, illuminating, and often devastating, Sick interweaves these stories with clear-eyed reporting from Washington and takes us inside the medical industry to chronicle the decline of America's health care system—and lays bare the consequences any one of us could suffer if we don't replace it.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.13(d)
Table of Contents
Introduction: Boston ix
Sioux Falls 87
Lawrence County 115
Los Angeles 167
Conclusion: Washington 215
Sources and Notes 233
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The book explains what can happen when a person loses illness/injury insurance coverage. A reader will understand the benefit an individual policy brings instead of relying on employer based coverage, during employment, between jobs, and during retirement. Some of the examples raise the question of whether the medical services received were medically necessary, such as a hospitalization for a patient who was clearly dying of cancer when hospice care would have been a better solution. Absent from the discussion is the value that a primary care physician can bring to help patients navigate health care services without insurance. Mr. Cohn links the changes in law and employer fortunes to the lives of affected individuals, which approach is very helpful for policy makers and legislators. On the other hand, the examples raise the question of the need for personal responsibility and liability for unhealthy life style choices (e.g. smoking) that impair health and cannot be mitigated due to limited financial resources and/or medical intervention limitations. Sick makes a good case for universal health care (not to be confused with single payer). It also provides examples in which health care can be provided at a lower cost to acheive the same outcomes, which, if repeated enough, will lower the resources needed overall, lower costs, improve value, and make insurance more affordable. Sick also shows the need for individual catastrophic coverage, COBRA coverage, and personal savings.