A hotshot hedge fund manager uncovers an insurance industry conspiracy in this gripping medical thriller.
A car accident sends Fort Myers, Florida, investment whiz Warren Thompson and his fiancee, Alex, to the hospital. Warren recovers quickly, but Alex succumbs to an infection and dies. Consumed by grief, he wonders whether the hospital staff did everything possible to save her. Staffers meet his pointed inquiries with ominous warnings not to look too closely at how treatment decisions are made. But Warren’s stubborn amateur sleuthing eventually leads him to the realization that USCare, the supposedly universal insurance program that’s a successor to the Affordable Care Act, doesn’t provide equal treatment for all. The wealthy are virtually guaranteed to receive the highest level of medical attention, while people on the lowest rungs of the insurance ladder would, according to one Harvard-educated doctor, “get better care at a Days Inn with a bottle of aspirin.” It turns out that physicians who deviate from the strict care guidelines are blackballed. Warren moves to sue insurance companies and expose the truth, but they’re willing to go to extremes to protect their business. Bollinger (The Pill Game, 2014, etc.) makes a few short leaps from the current real-life state of health care and insurance in America to create a sadly believable reality in which big business has nearly complete control over treatment decisions. Warren starts out as a self-absorbed businessman but evolves into an appealing protagonist as he learns to care about things other than making money. The supporting cast members are well-drawn, including Micah, a helpful nurse (and later, Warren’s love interest), and Sam Abrams, a “hippie doc” whose attempts to expose the truth about USCare cost him his career. However, the insurance industry villains are standard-issue bad guys in suits. The prose is also sometimes a bit verbose; trimmer sentences and paragraphs would have made this story zip along even faster. However, Bollinger delivers a clever, satisfying conclusion.
A nightmare scenario of an insurance industry run amok that makes for often entertaining—and troubling—reading.