The Citizen Patient: Reforming Health Care for the Sake of the Patient, Not the System

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Conflicts of interest, misrepresentation of clinical trials, hospital price-fixing, and massive expenditures for procedures of dubious efficacy--these and other critical flaws leave little doubt that the current U.S. health-care system is in need of an overhaul. In this essential guide, preeminent physician Nortin Hadler urges American health-care consumers to take time to understand the existing system and to visualize what the outcome of successful reform might look like. Central to this vision is a shared understanding of the primacy of the relationship between doctor and patient. Hadler shows us that a new approach is necessary if we hope to improve the health of the populace. Rational health care, he argues, is far less expensive than the irrationality of the status quo.

Taking a critical view of how medical treatment, health-care finance, and attitudes about health, medicine, and disease play out in broad social and political settings, Hadler applies his wealth of experience and insight to these pressing issues, answering important questions for Citizen Patients and policy makers alike.

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About the author

Nortin M. Hadler, M.D., M.A.C.P., M.A.C.R., F.A.C.O.E.M., is professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and attending rheumatologist at UNC Hospitals. His most recent book is Rethinking Aging: Growing Old and Living Well in an Overtreated Society.

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Additional Information

Publisher
UNC Press Books
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Published on
Apr 1, 2013
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781469607054
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Language
English
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Genres
Health & Fitness / Health Care Issues
Medical / Health Policy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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A New York Times bestseller/Washington Post Notable Book of 2017/NPR Best Books of 2017/Wall Street Journal Best Books of 2017 

"This book will serve as the definitive guide to the past and future of health care in America.”—Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene  

At a moment of drastic political upheaval, An American Sickness is a shocking investigation into our dysfunctional healthcare system - and offers practical solutions to its myriad problems.

In these troubled times, perhaps no institution has unraveled more quickly and more completely than American medicine. In only a few decades, the medical system has been overrun by organizations seeking to exploit for profit the trust that vulnerable and sick Americans place in their healthcare. Our politicians have proven themselves either unwilling or incapable of reining in the increasingly outrageous costs faced by patients, and market-based solutions only seem to funnel larger and larger sums of our money into the hands of corporations. Impossibly high insurance premiums and inexplicably large bills have become facts of life; fatalism has set in. Very quickly Americans have been made to accept paying more for less. How did things get so bad so fast?

Breaking down this monolithic business into the individual industries—the hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers—that together constitute our healthcare system, Rosenthal exposes the recent evolution of American medicine as never before. How did healthcare, the caring endeavor, become healthcare, the highly profitable industry? Hospital systems, which are managed by business executives, behave like predatory lenders, hounding patients and seizing their homes. Research charities are in bed with big pharmaceutical companies, which surreptitiously profit from the donations made by working people. Patients receive bills in code, from entrepreneurial doctors they never even saw. 

The system is in tatters, but we can fight back. Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal doesn't just explain the symptoms, she diagnoses and treats the disease itself. In clear and practical terms, she spells out exactly how to decode medical doublespeak, avoid the pitfalls of the pharmaceuticals racket, and get the care you and your family deserve. She takes you inside the doctor-patient relationship and to hospital C-suites, explaining step-by-step the workings of a system badly lacking transparency. This is about what we can do, as individual patients, both to navigate the maze that is American healthcare and also to demand far-reaching reform. An American Sickness is the frontline defense against a healthcare system that no longer has our well-being at heart.
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