Review of An American Sickness

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  • Controversial
  • Eye Opening
  • Insider's Take


This bleak and depressing account of the US health care system exposes the rapacious behaviors of some hospitals, insurers, pharmaceuticals, nonprofits, politicians and even doctors. These players grab whatever they can from a broken system, at great cost to patients.

Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, delivers an exhausting, infuriating litany about greed and abuse…and that’s before the 2017 tax bill defunded mandated payments from the noninsured. However, she could give more attention to philanthropists and conscientious doctors who fight the system. Fortunately, she doesn’t stop at describing what’s wrong or restrict her advice to policy makers alone. Rosenthal focuses on the patient, offering dozens of tactics you can use to lower your health costs and stay safe. getAbstract recommends her heartfelt polemic to all US health care consumers.

About the Author

Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal holds a medical degree from Harvard. She wrote for The New York Times for 25 years and now runs her own newsletter, the Kaiser Health News.


Rosenthal provides exhaustive data, evidence and examples to demonstrate that the US health care system no longer seems to exist primarily to help the sick and injured or to relieve them of their suffering. Instead, much of US health care focuses on profits, higher salaries and fancier facilities, while delivering care that would be unacceptable across much of the developed world. She warns that the system will only get worse until Americans stand up and take back their health care. The few courageous doctors who act against the outrages she identifies too often find themselves alone fighting giants. They stand little chance of success without the backing of millions of American health care consumers.

The US health care system must change. Americans must act before it bankrupts millions more and destroys more lives. Rosenthal offers these insights and lessons:

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