web site hit counter Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business--and Bad Medicine - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business--and Bad Medicine

Availability: Ready to download

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 . . . Health care executives pulling in milli 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 . . . Health care executives pulling in millions in bonuses for denying treatment to the sick . . . More than 100 million people with inadequate or no medical coverage . . . 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.


Compare

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 . . . Health care executives pulling in milli 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 . . . Health care executives pulling in millions in bonuses for denying treatment to the sick . . . More than 100 million people with inadequate or no medical coverage . . . 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.

30 review for Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business--and Bad Medicine

  1. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    This is a solid, sometimes revelatory, book by the renowned investigative reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele that attacks our extremely dysfunctional national health care system. Thankfully, the book also offers a solution. Unfortunately, that solution - a single-payer system run by a government entity loosely based on the Fed - isn't being considered by our leaders, including Obama. I became interested in this book after realizing I didn't know enough about how our health care system work This is a solid, sometimes revelatory, book by the renowned investigative reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele that attacks our extremely dysfunctional national health care system. Thankfully, the book also offers a solution. Unfortunately, that solution - a single-payer system run by a government entity loosely based on the Fed - isn't being considered by our leaders, including Obama. I became interested in this book after realizing I didn't know enough about how our health care system works. Suffice it to say, I feel informed now - and outraged. Barlett and Steele show overwhelming evidence of just how stupid our health care system is, including insurers overcharging patients and bundling procedures to short-change doctors, and corporations outsourcing medical call centers to India. That's right. The next time you call to ask for an appointment with your doctor because of an ailment, there's a decent chance you'll end up talking with someone in Mumbai who knows nothing about medicine but who is under orders from corporate to get off the phone as quickly as possible and to deny doctor visits to reduce costs and pump up profits. Scary. The other very helpful thing the book does is delve into the history of how health care in America became the territory of Wall Street. In the 1980s, free-market conservatives, peddling the theory that a free-market health care system would give Americans more choices and less cost, successfully transformed what used to be a largely nonprofit system into an investor-led, Wall Street-owned enterprise. As Barlett and Steele show, the exact opposite has happened to the system: Free-market health care offers little choice and has, in fact, led to rising health-care costs. What's more, it has created massive corporate and insurer bureaucracies and left nearly 50 million Americans uninsured and many more underinsured. It all begs the question: Why does America find it so hard to join the rest of the industrialized, civilized world and offer health care that takes care of its citizens? Hmm, I think I know the answer. It has something to do with a lot of money and lobbyists, and a bunch of politicians with the collective backbone of an amoeba.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy Ellison

    America’s Health Care System Overdue for Check-Up Mason McIlnay was a kindergartner living in Salem, Oregon. Leg aches began to plague him, and doctors soon discovered he had a serious childhood cancer called neuroblastoma. Mason was very sick, and nothing saddens the heart more than hearing about a sick child. He needed immediate treatment. Unfortunately, Mason’s family falls among the masses of 43 million uninsured Americans. Mason’s mother held the mother-of-all garage sales with the hopes of America’s Health Care System Overdue for Check-Up Mason McIlnay was a kindergartner living in Salem, Oregon. Leg aches began to plague him, and doctors soon discovered he had a serious childhood cancer called neuroblastoma. Mason was very sick, and nothing saddens the heart more than hearing about a sick child. He needed immediate treatment. Unfortunately, Mason’s family falls among the masses of 43 million uninsured Americans. Mason’s mother held the mother-of-all garage sales with the hopes of bringing in enough money to pay the tens of thousands of dollars they owed for his treatments. She made enough profit to put a dent in the mountain of debt she had been carrying, but not enough to lift the entire weight off her tired shoulders. She must continue to make huge payments for years to come. The McIlnay’s story is one of many heart-breaking stories found in Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele’s latest book, Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business – and Bad Medicine (Doubleday, 2004, 304 pgs.) Barlett and Steele’s in-your-face accounts of despair force readers to consider how this supposedly great country could abandon so many needy and sick Americans. Critical Condition is a reproachful analysis of America’s health care system and the damaging attempt to improve health care in America by using a market-based approach. Barlett and Steele write, “What does it say about the richest country on earth that its citizens must depend on raffles and spaghetti dinners to pay the medical bills – a situation that exists in no other civilized country?”(12). Critical Condition goes on to explain, America’s health care costs more than any other country’s: 15 percent of gross domestic product in 2003. Yet, when comparing lifespan in terms of years of healthy living, Americans rank 29th among nations – between Slovenia and Portugal. “In sum, Americans pay for a Hummer but get a Ford Escort,” writes Barlett and Steele (13). Sadly, they do not get around to offering a solution until the last fifteen pages of the book. This latest collaboration by the authors effectively shows how America’s health care is failing miserably, but without much attention given to possible solutions, readers are left feeling hopeless. Aptly included in the title, Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business – and Bad Medicine, are the words “big business and bad medicine” – an unfortunate combination for American citizens. In Critical Condition, Barlett and Steele explain that corporate decisions at a marketing company, for example, “may have economic consequences affecting the paychecks, dividends, or stock options of workers, executives and investors.” However, “the same decisions in a health care company are matters of life and death” (154). The book’s title effectively echoes this belief. This bleak examination of America’s health care is the seventh book by the Pulitzer prize-winning investigative team. These men have been working together for over thirty years: first at the Philadelphia Inquirer, then at Time magazine, and now at Vanity Fair. Working together for so many years has obviously refined their teamwork and deepened their investigative ability. Barlett and Steele are experienced in digging deep to discover things the average American citizen would not likely find otherwise. Without fail, Barlett and Steele provide gripping proof of the truly critical condition of our health care system. Barlett and Steele state, “Nearly one of every three dollars now spent on health care goes for administration” (170). The book explains that American consumers pay more for fewer benefits while contending with a lack of choice in providers and prices. Frustrated patients and physicians are dealing with billing chaos and confusion caused by the excessive number of health plans. To increase profit, providers overcharge the uninsured and limit hospital stays with overly restrictive guidelines. Pressured hospitals dangerously cut costs by cutting number of staff and supplies and reducing sterilization. Undertrained and overworked nurses make frightening mistakes. The media contributes to the problem as well, Barlett and Steel suggest, by urging people to undergo countless unnecessary tests and causing an overuse of the system, which drives up prices. Pharmaceutical giants push off-label prescriptions (untested combinations of tested drugs like the infamous fenphen) and the FDA has suspiciously slow response times to side-affect concerns. HMO and hospital chain CEO’s seem to care more about the bottom line and their own lavish lifestyles than they do about the lives of their fellow American citizens. And all this madness is because, Barlett and Steele propose, in the end anyone who has any power in this crazy system ultimately chooses their pocketbook over morality. “At best it’s a costly and wasteful system that siphons off precious health care dollars. At worst, it causes injury and death” (159). Page after page, chapter after chapter, the authors give shocking examples of the system’s complete failure. The authority with which Barlett and Steele present their case against a market approach to care comes from the depth to which they have researched this topic. Critical Condition is full of facts and studies with seven pages of sources at the end. The plethora of facts is almost dizzying, and because so little conflicting evidence is presented, the many facts sway readers that what is being read is God’s truth. Barlett and Steele provide plenty of true stories to demonstrate their points, to help readers relate and perhaps even be moved to compassion. For example, they share the story of Jack and Donna Brown. Donna, a waitress, was uninsured but needed colon surgery. Her hospital bill was a whopping $57,000 that she just could not pay. The hospital sued, forcing the couple into bankruptcy. Jack told a confidant, “We tried paying our medical bills… I worked very hard. We lost a home because of this lawsuit” (22). A very desperate situation indeed, and disturbing enough to show Barlett and Steele’s point that greedy hospitals care more about profit than actually helping patients. The authors typically follow horrific stories such as this with strong supporting evidence of the problem at hand. Critical Condition is written for not only politicians and physicians (though they should absolutely read it) but for average American health care consumers. Their writing style is easy for those average citizens to understand and achieves the authors’ desired response: won over by the authors’ persuasiveness, rallied proponents are ready for change – although readers may not realize they have not been given all the information they need. In the conservative-leaning Newsweek magazine, Robert J. Samuelson states that Barlett and Steele tend to “report matters so selectively – with so little attention to conflicting evidence or any larger context – that ordinary readers are misled.” Surely the authors are not trying to mislead, but the selective nature with which they offer information fails to fully equip average readers who are attempting to shape informed opinions. After taking in all this information, readers will be ready to hear a suggestion for change. Barlett and Steele advise a single payer system (read: universal health care coverage) to correct all of this. Readers may find that this book pushes them to elect leaders who have health care reform as a top priority. Reading Critical Condition will cause one to believe that conservatives and other opponents to universalized care simply do not realize that adopting universal coverage would not be a radical move for America: “We already have universal health care for everybody aged sixty-five and over: It’s called Medicare” (138). According to the authors, universal coverage would not mean communist medicine either; rather it would bring American citizens up to par with the other industrial countries and their dedication to providing good health to all people. Jocelyn Chao said it well, albeit through sarcasm, in her editorial on universal health care for The Onion, “What will they tell us next – that everyone deserves a free public education and the ‘right’ to a fair trial?” Americans who believe all people are created equal may conclude that providing universal coverage to all is a very worthwhile goal for America. Barlett and Steele’s proposal in Critical Condition for universal health care coverage may sound appealing, but because it lacks needed details the recommended plan seems intangible. The short 15-page final chapter devoted to the authors’ solution, titled “Remedy,” falls short of expectations. Barlett and Steele mention other countries that benefit from single-payer systems, and an overview of how Canada, Sweden or Japan runs their health care programs could have provided some needed clarity. A chapter devoted to examining a working universal health care system could have painted a picture for readers of how it might also work for America. Had they included more support to their claims, Barlett and Steele could have pushed readers from thinking, “Hmm… sounds interesting,” to crying out, “What are we waiting for?” Despite a weak close, Barlett and Steele have done an outstanding job at presenting their case against America’s Health Care system. Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business – and Bad Medicine thoroughly convinces readers of the grave shortcomings of the current system. In the end, Critical Condition is a book full of frightening health care horror stories with no happy ending in sight. Sweet Dreams.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    No surprises here. Just further confirmation that our healthcare system is broken. This book was published in 2004 and nothing much has changed, except maybe for the worse. We must educate ourselves in order to protect ourselves from becoming victims of the system!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gary Ballard

    Knowing the terrible state of healthcare in this country, much of what I read in this book didn't surprise me. While the depths of corruption, greed and pure idiocy this book highlights was surprising, the authors tended to belabor their points about how bad the system is to an almost shrill degree. I chalk that up to the time it was written (2004), before Michael Moore's Sicko and the endless debates about "death panels" from 2009-2010. It illuminates the problems, but unfortunately it's soluti Knowing the terrible state of healthcare in this country, much of what I read in this book didn't surprise me. While the depths of corruption, greed and pure idiocy this book highlights was surprising, the authors tended to belabor their points about how bad the system is to an almost shrill degree. I chalk that up to the time it was written (2004), before Michael Moore's Sicko and the endless debates about "death panels" from 2009-2010. It illuminates the problems, but unfortunately it's solutions are somewhat sparse on the ground, ending up as one chapter in the back of the book. Even worse, the solutions it offers, while almost entirely an effective solution, aren't even remotely feasible in the current political climate (i.e. with a Republican/Tea Party controlled House and a President and Democratic party more concerned with corporation-friendly centrism than doing the right thing by America). The book is worth reading if you are not already intimately familiar with the flaws in the American healthcare system, but only if you are willing to admit that perhaps our pay for play capitalist system isn't "the best in the world." If you have even the slightest inkling that our system is a good one, you are deluded and this book likely won't convince you. If you think government healthcare is automatically Soviet style oppression, nothing can help you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    If you can stand to read lots of infuriating anecdotes about insurance company CEOs and Wall Street dealmakers using our health care dollars to fly their friends to Jamaica on corporate jets and build 21-room mansions while parents whose kids have cancer have to hold garage-sale fundraisers, this is a good read. It's written by two Pulitzer-winning journalists, and exposes the awful reality of what market-based health care has given us in America. If you can stand to read lots of infuriating anecdotes about insurance company CEOs and Wall Street dealmakers using our health care dollars to fly their friends to Jamaica on corporate jets and build 21-room mansions while parents whose kids have cancer have to hold garage-sale fundraisers, this is a good read. It's written by two Pulitzer-winning journalists, and exposes the awful reality of what market-based health care has given us in America.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jayne

    Wow...Everyone in America needs to read this book! I realized healthcare in America doesn't need reformed but overhauled. the authors did an amazing job of identifying issues with America's healthcare and presented ways to fix it. We spend more money than any other country on healthcare, yet pay more individually for it...maybe because 1/3 of the money spent goes to administrative costs?! You'll be shocked once you read this book! Wow...Everyone in America needs to read this book! I realized healthcare in America doesn't need reformed but overhauled. the authors did an amazing job of identifying issues with America's healthcare and presented ways to fix it. We spend more money than any other country on healthcare, yet pay more individually for it...maybe because 1/3 of the money spent goes to administrative costs?! You'll be shocked once you read this book!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    I am going to tackle this head on...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    Not the easiest to read...but very interesting. Gives an overview of several of the issues facing the health care arena in the context of real world examples...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Partha

    access to health care is a crisis in America !!! read this book and you'll see why! access to health care is a crisis in America !!! read this book and you'll see why!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nuha

    Okay but kinda hits like a barrage

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eugene

    Excellent explanation of how Wall Street has helped us to get to where we are now in health care.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeni

    This book was written in 2004. This is a must read book before the election. Since one party wishes to dismantle the ACA, this book provides a basis to argue for a single payer system

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    excellent, sometimes inflammatory and over simplified

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    The truth long before Sicko

  15. 4 out of 5

    Boyd

    Anyone concerned about health care in this country needs to read this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Barrow

  17. 5 out of 5

    Todd

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  19. 5 out of 5

    nogreatpretender

  20. 5 out of 5

    Will

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Parker

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brittney

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Sandeman

  24. 5 out of 5

    Raphael

  25. 4 out of 5

    Seeta Brar

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Steele

  27. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Smith

  28. 5 out of 5

    L

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fonsy

  30. 5 out of 5

    ted

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...