“On September 11, 2001, some three thousand Americans were killed by terrorists; our country has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But that same year, and every year since then, some twenty thousand Americans died because they couldn’t get health care. That doesn’t happen in any other developed country. Hundreds of thousands of Americans go bankrupt every year because of medical bills. That doesn’t happen in any other developed country either.”
As someone with a chronic illness, health care is a necessity. My life depends on medications that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each and every year, not to mention doctors appointments, hospital stays, lab tests, bloodwork, etc. The issue of access to affordable health care has been on my mind for years, particularly during the past 12 months as the current administration tried to repeal the Affordable Car Act.
It’s a fraught issue that has become entrenched in politics. But, in my opinion, being able to get the care one needs isn’t political, it’s personal. And it’s complicated. Our current health care system isn’t perfect, but neither is denying people with pre-existing conditions access to health insurance, or enforcing annual and lifetime caps. As this book shows, the United States has the worst health care of any developed country, despite how much money we spend on it.
I was eager to read this book because if I’m going to have strong opinions about our health care, I want to make sure I’m educated on the subject. I felt like Reid did a great job of that — giving us a “tour” of what other developed countries do and whether or not it’s working. While I wish he had a magic fix, I wasn’t naive enough to actually think that’s what I’d get out of this book.
In all honesty, this book was somewhat hard for me to read, seeing as the state of our nation’s health care has a direct impact on my quality of life — and really, whether I live at all. But it was informative and made me feel better equipped to engage in conversations about the future of health care.
But don’t read this book expecting to come away feeling hopeful. America has a long way to go before we heal ourselves.