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An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back

Elisabeth Rosenthal

· Recommended Books

Editor’s Comment: In 1937, my Dad wrote a white paper while studying medicine in Vienna, Austria. The topic was “socialized medicine”. Dad predicted that medicine as he had practiced it from 1931 to 1981 would no longer exist in my lifetime. He was quite right and Dr. Rosenthal does a good job in tracing the history of its transition from purpose to profit. She’s a little strident for my taste (the book is essentially a plea for a single payer system) and yet her writing is precise and brilliant and very, very informative. If you want to know how things got this way, from hospitals systems, to insurers to pharma companies to doctors and employers and governments…she delivers the goods.

Favorite excerpt: “The price of a Prius at a dealership in Princeton, New Jersey, is not five times higher than what you would pay for a Prius in Hackensack and a Prius in New Jersey is not twice as expensive as one in New Mexico. The price of that car at the very same dealer doesn’t depend on your employer, or if you’re self-employed or unemployed. Why does it matter for healthcare?”

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