The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis---And the People Who Pay the Price
By Jonathan Cohn
(HarperCollins, Hardcover, 9780060580452, 320pp.)
Publication Date: April 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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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.
Congress is back in session, and the health care bills are headed for a conference committee. Jonathan Cohn, who blogs about health care issues for The New Republic, joins Fresh Air for a conversation about the difference between the House and Senate bills and what a compromise might look like. More at NPR.org
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"Jonathan Cohn's Sick is an eye-opening work on healthcare in America told through the stories of those in need."
-Jerome Groopman, author of The Anatomy of Hope
"This is a stunningly important book. Jonathan Cohn lays bare the tragedy of our health care system."
-Atul Gawande, author of Complications
"Cohn's book will infuriate you enough to make you want to scream at every member of Congress, 'Read this!'"
-David K. Shipler, author of The Working Poor
"A terrific new book on our dysfunctional health care system."
-Paul Krugman, The New York Times
"An 80-year chronology of repeated market failure. . . . Read it and weep."
"In Sick, Jonathan Cohn . . . has written a call-to-arms for a complete transformation of American medicine."
-Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here
Sick is one of those rare books that combines the personal with the sharply analytical.
-Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights
"No one has thought harder about our heath care system than Jonathan Cohn."
-E.J. Dionne, Jr., syndicated columnist and author of Why Americans Hate Politics