An American Sickness By Elisabeth Rosenthal Book Summary

An American Sickness (by Elisabeth Rosenthal) Book Summary

“Understand the root causes and consequences of the American healthcare crisis with our comprehensive summary of “An American Sickness” by Elisabeth Rosenthal. Learn about the failures of the current system and the need for radical reform and a more patient-centered approach.”

Book Summary

My daughter was delivered six weeks prematurely in the fall of 2017, and she was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit for a period of about two weeks. We were all under a lot of pressure during this time. Thank goodness, my daughter pulled through with flying colors and is doing great today, both physically and emotionally.

However, we were forced to relive the nightmare a few months after the event took place. In spite of the fact that we attempted to negotiate with the hospital prior to receiving the bill, it was for the amount of $50,000.

I can still vividly recall the feeling of dread, especially after the hospital informed me that there was nothing more they could do besides suggest that I make payments of nearly $1,400 per month over the course of three years. It took a number of months of back-and-forth communication with their inept billing department in order for us to arrive at a solution that satisfied my needs.

My family and I are fortunate, but a lot of other people in this country aren’t. Some people are forced to leave the country in search of affordable medical care, while others are forced to make the heartbreaking choice between living a life of poverty or dying. All of this is due to the ineffectiveness of our healthcare system.

In her book, “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back,” Elisabeth Rosenthal delves deep into the murky depths of the reasons behind the existence of these atrocities.

The following are the three most important life lessons that I learned from reading this book:

  1. In the United States, hospitals are managed more like businesses than the life-saving institutions that they should be. This is unacceptable.
  2. Utilizing loopholes in patent laws and charging exorbitant prices allows pharmaceutical companies to keep their massive profit margins.
  3. The pursuit of profit is given greater priority by healthcare corporations than the provision of medical care to patients.

You’re going to want to storm the nearest healthcare facility after hearing this, so get your pitchforks and torches ready! Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

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Lesson 1: Instead of saving lives, hospitals run like businesses.

Around the year 1900, the medical industry in the United States got its start. Charitable organizations such as hospitals were traditionally founded by religious communities. A health insurance policy was nothing more than a means to lessen the financial impact of an individual’s absence from work due to illness. Before the 1950s, these businesses did not seek to maximize their profits; however, that began to change.

The number of people buying health insurance policies in the United States rose by sixty percent. This was an unmistakable indication that it was a major enterprise, and ever since then, that has been the state of healthcare.

In the 1970s, hospitals even started employing business consultants, which is about as horrible of an idea as it sounds. They could have hired individuals to assist them in making people healthier, but instead, their primary goal was to increase their financial gain.

“Strategic pricing” is just one deceitful strategy that they started using in order to increase their profits as quickly as possible. And the people who end up paying the price for it are the patients.

Following the surgical removal of an ectopic pregnancy from a woman’s body, the patient received a bill for the amount of $44,000. The procedure was categorized as “miscellaneous” in the statement. Hospital accountants will sometimes purposefully obscure information in order to increase their bottom line. Ugh, is that right? It gets worse.

In addition to this, they started offering financial incentives to medical professionals so that they would recommend more expensive treatments and procedures. Those who charged their patients a higher fee brought in more revenue. Additionally, departments within hospitals that did not perform as well financially were contracted out to other companies. All of this was done to make room for expanding those aspects of the business that brought in more revenue.

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Lesson 2: Greedy pharmaceutical companies manipulate patents and prices.

Pharmaceutical companies are responsible for the development, production, and distribution of the medicines that medical professionals recommend to their patients in the hope that they will recover from their illnesses. Although their beginnings and primary purposes were initially comparable to those of hospitals, unfortunately, they have since become just as self-centered.

In the past, the price of antibiotics was only a few dollars, and the price of vaccines was only a few pennies. However, at this time, pharmaceutical companies are attempting to increase their prices as much as they possibly can, while patients watch helplessly.

If you live in the United Kingdom and suffer from ulcers, the medication used to treat them may cost you around $12. In contrast, the cost of the same prescription in the United States can range anywhere from $600 to $1,200. Because of this, many people are leaving the United States for good in order to find work elsewhere and avoid falling into abject poverty.

Martin Shkreli’s actions, which included buying the rights to a drug that assists in the treatment of HIV, have become perhaps the most well-known example of greed in the pharmaceutical industry. As a result of his decision to raise the price of a single pill of the medication from $13.50 to $750, he is now the primary name that is associated with the gluttony of big pharma.

But hold on, you might be thinking; shouldn’t something like that is against the law? Sadly, these sly businesses are masters at evading legal obligations in every way possible. They begin with components that are not protected by patents and then use those components to create “new” drugs that perform the same function. To ensure that this plan is successful, they will even mix different types of drugs together.



Lesson 3: US healthcare corporations prioritize profit over patient care.

According to research conducted in 2014, overdue medical bills account for 52 percent of Americans’ total debt. According to the findings of the study, the cost of medical care is responsible for lowering the credit scores of one in every five people living in the United States.

This is due to a variety of factors, the most fundamental of which is the fact that the healthcare system in the United States is managed in the same manner as a large corporation.

Take, for instance, the language that is utilized by knowledgeable people working in the industry. They are referred to as “consumers” rather than “patients.” They are now focusing their research not on “illnesses,” as they once did, but rather on “high-value disease states,” which offer a greater potential for financial gain.

If all of this inhumanity hasn’t already caused your blood to boil, just wait until you hear the next part of what happened. During her time at Harvard Medical School, a physician by the name of Denise Faustman conducted research into potential treatments for type 1 diabetes. Disgracefully, not a single one of the associations dedicated to diabetes research was willing to pay for it simply due to the fact that there was no possibility of making a profit in the commercial sector.

These large corporations, by which I mean health care institutions, would rather not find a cure for the disease in order to make more money off of patients receiving treatment for the rest of their lives. If you have diabetes or another illness, there is a chance that you will have to deal with it for the rest of your life because certain businesses are stifling research that could put an end to these conditions so that they can make more money.


To Whom Should I Recommend This Book?

  • The 34-year-old individual suffers from a chronic illness and is having a difficult time keeping up with their financial obligations.
  • the physician, who is 56 years old and would like to find ways to assist their patients beyond providing medical care, is looking for new avenues to explore.
  • and each and every person who holds a position in any branch of government that gives them the authority to stop these atrocities.

An American Sickness Book Review

This one really got my blood boiling about the way healthcare is handled in the United States right now. An American Sickness exposes a shockingly high level of avarice and corruption, and I simply cannot believe it. It is essential to acknowledge that a significant number of medical professionals feel the same way, and we should all take heart from the fact that this can hopefully motivate us to collaborate on finding a solution to this enormous issue.


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