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Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business -- And Bad Medicineby Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
Synopses & Reviews
Exposing the most controversial, little-known practices of America's most flawed system, Time magazine's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team pulls back the curtain on the health care industry to explain exactly how things grew so out of control.
Dirty examination and operating rooms in doctor's offices and hospitals...
This may sound like the predicament of a third-world nation, but this is America's health care reality today. The U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation, yet our benefits are shrinking and life expectancy is shorter here than in countries that spend significantly less per capita. Meanwhile, HMOs, pharmaceutical companies, and hospital chains reap tremendous profits, while politicians — beholden to insurers and drug companies — enact legislation for the benefit of the few rather than the many, while the entire system is on the verge of collapse.
In Critical Condition, award-winning investigative journalists Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele expose the horror of what health care in America has become. They profile patients and doctors trapped by the system and offer startling personal stories that illuminate what's gone wrong. Doctors tell of being second-guessed and undermined by health care insurers; nurses recount chilling tales of hospital meltdowns; patients explain how they've been victimized by a system that is meant to care for them. Drug companies profit by selling pills in the same manner that Madison Avenue sells soap, while Wall Street rakes in billions by building up and then tearing down health care businesses. And politicians pass legislation perpetuating the injustices and out-right fraud the system encourages.
By analyzing the industry and offering an insightful prescription for getting it back on the right track, Critical Condition is an enormously compelling investigative work that addresses the concerns of every American.
"Bestselling investigative journalists Barlett and Steele (America: What Went Wrong?) deliver a devastating indictment, supported by excellent research, of a health-care system that they say is failing to provide first-rate services to its citizens, 44 million of whom are without insurance. According to these Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, now with Time magazine, the U.S. compares poorly with other Westernized nations in delivering quality care and a healthy life expectancy, and preventing infant mortality. Per capita health-care spending continues to exceed the amount spent by many other countries, the authors say, because one out of every three U.S. dollars pays for administrative costs. The authors also present case histories of patients, some with life-threatening conditions, who were ignored by bureaucratic HMOs that put profit first. Barlett and Steele describe how health care first became driven by profits on Wall Street during the Reagan administration. Competing insurance plans, they say, led not to better choices for consumers, but to physicians who are prevented by insurers from prescribing needed treatments; a severe shortage of nurses; and unsafe hospitals where staff shortages and unsanitary conditions result from cost-cutting. The authors, who strongly advocate a single payer plan, successfully depict a health-care system in crisis. Agent, Andrew Wylie. (On sale Oct. 5)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Part of their successful formula is relentless, long-term reporting that includes human sources and documents undiscovered by other journalists....[The authors] are able to minimize direct attribution because of their knowledge, making the style fast-paced." Denver Post
"They are almost certainly the best team in the history of investigative reporting." Washington Journalism Review
"Instead of just reporting still unproven accusations and focusing on individual corruption, [they reveal] with expert analysis and thorough documentation what has systematically gone wrong with the powerful, complex institutions that affect so much of life today." Leonard Downie, Jr., author of The New Muckrakers: An Inside Look at America's Investigative Reporters
Award-winning investigative journalists Barlett and Steele expose the horror of what health care in America has become, profiling patients and doctors trapped by the system and offering startling personal stories that illuminate what's gone wrong.
About the Author
Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele are America's most widely acclaimed investigative journalism team. They have worked together for three decades, first at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and, since 1997, as editors at large for Time. They are the only journalists in history to have won two Pulitzer Prizes and two National Magazine Awards, as well as dozens of other national awards. They are the coauthors of six books, including America: What Went Wrong?, which spent eight months on the New York Times bestseller list.
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