Short, but a huge eye-opener

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plappen's review of The Hidden History of American Healthcare by Thom Hartmann

★★★★★

“Short, but a huge eye-opener”

Written on: 11/02/2022 by plappen (122 reviews written)

The Hidden History of American Healthcare, Thom Hartmann, 2021, ISBN 9781523091652

Why does every major industrialized country, except America, have some sort of national health insurance system? This book attempts to answer that question.

In the early 20th century, around 1915, the Woodrow Wilson Administration attempted to bring national health insurance to America (based on the German model under the Kaiser). It's failure can be blamed on Frederick Hoffmann of the Prudential Insurance Co, of America. He wrote all sorts of articles and pamphlets, emphasizing all the bad parts of the German system, and the British, which had started a few years previously. National health insurance would supposedly destroy the Daniel Boone spirit of individuality in America (sound familiar?). Today, the insurance industry has plenty of money to spend on Washington lobbyists to make sure that it stays that way.

Everyone has seen, or read, ads for Medicare Advantage health plans. The compete with, but have no connection to, traditional Medicare. Such plans get a lump-sum reimbursement each year from the government, so it is in their interest to make their patients look as sick as possible. Patients get a yearly visit from a nurse. A slight anomaly in a patient's heart rhythm, which doesn't affect the patient at all, is listed as Heart Attack (more money). An emotional problem that lasts more than 2 weeks becomes Major Depressive Episode (more money). This goes along with the usual denial of coverage the first time around. A number of sources report the government overpayments to these plans is in the billions of dollars each year. Also, switching from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare is impossible; you are locked in.

This is a short book, but it is a huge eye-opener. It is highly recommended for all Americans, and gets more than 5 stars.

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