A Colorado ophthalmologist lasers gaping holes in Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, prescribes a new two-tiered health care system and Dutch-uncles ridiculously overinsured Americans.

  The book’s title doesn’t quite work, but everything else in first-time author Beyer’s sharp-eyed look at health care in the United States is revealing to a fault, and, as a reader might expect, it’s not a pretty picture. Medicare and Medicaid are Ponzi schemes and deficit makers that augur higher taxes. Obamacare, while well-intentioned, is a poison pill that will drive private doctors out of business as its myriad regulations diminish the overall quality of health care. With lobbyists running interference, Big Pharma and insurers are running riot gaming the system, with some doctors joining in. Meanwhile, government officials and these same insurers, clueless about what doctors face, are making the rules and setting fees. Honest, everyday physicians who are doing no better than plumbers and their hapless patients stand at the very bottom of a trickle-down, gazillion dollar, third-party-payer health system that is dysfunctional in every way. This may sound familiar, but what sets Beyer’s rendition apart is the cogent, lucid manner in which he indignantly makes his case. Though he occasionally sounds like a screamer at the back of the hall, what really shows through is a rugged individualist, old-line Western conservative with naturopathic leanings. Get off your dern butts, he says, and learn to eat and live right. He advises reserving the government safety net for the relative few who are truly sick, disabled or mentally incapacitated. For the rest, tax-exempt personal health savings accounts can fund medical care while giving incentives not to overconsume. This system cuts out third parties and leaves it up to patients and their physicians to set fees in free market style. Throw in a modicum of high-deductible, catastrophic insurance and most people will have all the protection they need, plus health costs will plummet. The plan looks good on paper, but how will it take effect? Which presidential candidate will heed the call? Or is this just a somewhat Colorado-centric eye doc crying in the wilderness.   A highly illuminating book that deserves the widest possible audience, not that it would necessarily make any difference.


Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-1463745998

Page Count: 220

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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