MARKETPLACE MEDICINE: The Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains by Dave Lindorff

MARKETPLACE MEDICINE: The Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, investigative journalist Lindorff (The New York Times, L.A.'s KCET-TV, etc.) foresees a brave new medical world in which control over health care passes ""from the local doctor and community--and from government--into the hands of corporate executives."" With the appearance of Medicare in 1965, the money to be made in health care skyrocketed, and business was quick to respond--but today, Lindorff points out, our healthcare system is in crisis. He looks at the growth of profit-driven hospital corporations (especially the four largest: Humana, Hospital Corporation of America, National Medical Enterprises, and American Medical International) and the effects of competition on health care--and, citing ample facts and figures, concludes that for-profit corporations will not solve the problems of rising costs and diminishing access by the poor. Lindorff deplores the negative impact he sees market-oriented hospital chains as having on patients, physicians, nurses, other hospital workers, communities, and government policy. Unlike Walt Bogdanich in The Great White Lie (p. 1252), Lindorff spends relatively little time examining the quality of care offered by hospitals in the US; indeed, he believes it's first-rate overall, at least for those people with insurance. His concerns are more with costs and access. Like Bogdanich, he has qualms about the carrot-and-stick approach used by some hospitals to entice/coerce doctors into supplying profitable patients, and recommends an end to the self-monitoring of hospitals through the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Unlike Bogdanich, however, Lindorff hopes that Americans will finally explore universal government-run, government-financed health care. An urgent warning to pay attention to what's happening to our health-care system and to take action before it's too late.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1992
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Bantam