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The Hidden History of American Healthcare: Why Sickness Bankrupts You and Makes Others Insanely Rich (The Thom Hartmann Hidden History Series)

av Thom Hartmann

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1721,265,403 (4.5)Ingen/inga
Popular progressive radio host and New York Times bestselling author Thom Hartmann reveals how and why attempts to implement affordable universal healthcare in the United States have been thwarted and what we can do to finally make it a reality.   "For-profit health insurance is the largest con job ever perpetrated on the American people--one that has cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives since the 1940s," says Thom Hartmann.   Other countries have shown us that affordable universal healthcare is not only possible but also effective and efficient. Taiwan's single-payer system saved the country a fortune as well as saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic, enabling the country to implement a nationwide coronavirus test-and-contact-trace program without shutting down the economy. This resulted in just ten deaths, while more than 500,000 people have died in the United States.   Hartmann offers a deep dive into the shameful history of American healthcare, showing how greed, racism, and oligarchic corruption led to the current "sickness for profit" system. Modern attempts to create versions of government healthcare have been hobbled at every turn, including Obamacare.   There is a simple solution: Medicare for all. Hartmann outlines the extraordinary benefits this system would provide the American people and economy and the steps we need to take to make it a reality. It's time for America to join every industrialized country in the world and make health a right, not a privilege.  … (mer)
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Why does every major industrialized country, except America, have some sort of national health insurance system? This book attempts to answer that question.

In the early 20th century, around 1915, the Woodrow Wilson Administration attempted to bring national health insurance to America (based on the German model under the Kaiser). It's failure can be blamed on Frederick Hoffmann of the Prudential Insurance Co, of America. He wrote all sorts of articles and pamphlets, emphasizing all the bad parts of the German system, and the British, which had started a few years previously. National health insurance would supposedly destroy the Daniel Boone spirit of individuality in America (sound familiar?). Today, the insurance industry has plenty of money to spend on Washington lobbyists to make sure that it stays that way.

Everyone has seen, or read, ads for Medicare Advantage health plans. The compete with, but have no connection to, traditional Medicare. Such plans get a lump-sum reimbursement each year from the government, so it is in their interest to make their patients look as sick as possible. Patients get a yearly visit from a nurse. A slight anomaly in a patient's heart rhythm, which doesn't affect the patient at all, is listed as Heart Attack (more money). An emotional problem that lasts more than 2 weeks becomes Major Depressive Episode (more money). This goes along with the usual denial of coverage the first time around. A number of sources report the government overpayments to these plans is in the billions of dollars each year. Also, switching from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare is impossible; you are locked in.

This is a short book, but it is a huge eye-opener. It is highly recommended for all Americans, and gets more than 5 stars. ( )
  plappen | Oct 17, 2021 |
In my early twenties, I decided to devote my life to bettering American healthcare. I gained exposure to the system as a medical student and still contribute professionally by bettering medical research through software development. My experiences show that many inefficiencies and much greed exist in the system. As Hartmann attests to in this book, so many people angle to profit off of citizens’ health needs. It’s sad, but the political will and personal wills to change systems are lacking. The author aims to change that by giving American readers a more informed picture of efforts to improve the American healthcare system.

Hartmann, a progressive radio host by trade, does so by a deep exploration of the history of the system. He explains how time after time, entrenched economic interests skewers any attempts to cut down on inefficiencies. That’s why, as is often told, the American system costs significantly more than any other nation’s but still produces subpar results. Although every other developed country favors a state-run solution, the American government consistently resists it. Solutions like Medicare for All (advocated for in this book) are relatively popular among the people, but monied interests loudly raise their voices whenever their piece of the pie is cut.

This book functions mostly as a political tract supported by history instead of a history of politics. Hartmann takes direct aim at what he views as the enemy – Reaganism and those who raise placards against “socialized medicine” every time reforms are suggested. He contends that Medicare for All will actually cost less money than the current system.

Perhaps this position is a bit idealistic. Those who are “losers” in such a schematic change will have to funnel their self-interest into other ventures. Indeed, it would upend the economy significantly, and the change could not happen overnight, much like getting rid of slavery took decades to overcome (if it ever has). That said, I believe he’s correct that getting rid of the excess capitalism is the right move to make economically and humanely. However, deeper study into a transition (whose absence is glaring here) might help alleviate future pain.

I’m not sure an American conservative would like reading this book because it brings out a view contrary to their party line. In contrast, American progressives would eat it up. What’s needed socially, however, is a healthy exchange of ideas among the camps. In an era of hyper-partisanship, I’m not sure Hartmann facilitates such dialogue. He merely pushes for his ideological position without calling his presuppositions into question. A little humility would make his argument stronger and his potential audience grow. Nonetheless, his approach will probably delight his radio audience and go to market well. From what I can gather from this radio star, I don’t think that hits too far from his intended target. ( )
  scottjpearson | Aug 12, 2021 |
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Popular progressive radio host and New York Times bestselling author Thom Hartmann reveals how and why attempts to implement affordable universal healthcare in the United States have been thwarted and what we can do to finally make it a reality.   "For-profit health insurance is the largest con job ever perpetrated on the American people--one that has cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives since the 1940s," says Thom Hartmann.   Other countries have shown us that affordable universal healthcare is not only possible but also effective and efficient. Taiwan's single-payer system saved the country a fortune as well as saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic, enabling the country to implement a nationwide coronavirus test-and-contact-trace program without shutting down the economy. This resulted in just ten deaths, while more than 500,000 people have died in the United States.   Hartmann offers a deep dive into the shameful history of American healthcare, showing how greed, racism, and oligarchic corruption led to the current "sickness for profit" system. Modern attempts to create versions of government healthcare have been hobbled at every turn, including Obamacare.   There is a simple solution: Medicare for all. Hartmann outlines the extraordinary benefits this system would provide the American people and economy and the steps we need to take to make it a reality. It's time for America to join every industrialized country in the world and make health a right, not a privilege.  

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