How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back
Author: Elisabeth Rosenthal
A New York Times bestseller A Washington Post Notable Book of the Year 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.
Patents are ubiquitous in contemporary life. Practically everything we use incorporates one or more patented inventions, and recent years have witnessed epic disputes over such matters as the patenting of human genes, the control of smartphone design and technology, the marketing of patented drugs, and the conduct of "patent trolls" accused of generating revenue from nuisance litigation. But what exactly is a patent? Why do governments grant them? Can patents simultaneously encourage new invention, while limiting monopoly and other abuses? In Patent Wars, Thomas Cotter, one of America's leading patent law scholars, offers an accessible, lively, and up-to-date examination of the current state of patent law, showing how patents affect everything from the food we eat to the cars we drive to the devices that entertain and inform us. Beginning with a general overview of patent law and litigation, the book addresses such issues as the patentability of genes, medical procedures, software, and business methods; the impact of drug patents and international treaties on the price of health care; trolls; and the smartphone wars. Taking into account both the benefits and costs that patents impose on society, Cotter highlights the key issues in current debates and explores what still remains unknown about the effect of patents on innovation. An essential one-volume analysis of the topic, Patent Wars explains why patent laws exist in the first place and how we can make the system better.
Investment is the engine of growth. In consequence, the social welfare of the populace depends on the expectations of uncertain profitability as understood by the agents of a wealthy few who decide upon levels of investment. As private wealth is intimately tied to the investment process, the importance of wealth concentration goes far beyond considerations of equity. In recent years, private economic power has become increasingly concentrated as more of the population has become dependent upon an elite pursuing private ends. In this context, this book examines the role of capital accumulation in various historical contexts. Over seventy years ago, Michal Kalecki derived the mathematical relationship between government deficits, the external trade account and free cash—defined as the gross profit over and above that portion ploughed back into new investment. Since then, the free cash literature has remained largely within an industrial organizational context where free cash theory has helped to explain mergers. In contrast, this book, revisits Kalecki’s free cash construction at the macro and global level and explores the various causes and effects of free cash on the economy. As part of this examination, the author highlights the historical uses of free cash in imperialist adventures, mergers and speculative endeavours. In addition to developing a new relative valuation measure of capital accumulation, he also utilizes a neo-Kaleckian model to help explain the U.S. slowdown in investment since the late 1960s, the increasing inequality of wealth and income and the recent speculative episodes associated with the spillage of free cash. Finally, based on these models the book argues for heightened taxes on the wealthy and an increased role for government investment in health care and energy. Free Cash, Capital Accumulation and Inequality offers an explanation as to how wealth and income inequalities have fashioned, and been fashioned by, various historical episodes right up to the present. It will be of great interest to those studying and researching in the field of economic analysis.
I was like an anorexic on the opposite side of the mirror. I never saw myself that fat. My brain wasn?t fat just me. Yet my inner skinny self is desperately crying to get out and my fat self trying to fit into a thin orientated world.