A compelling, hard-hitting indictment of U.S. health care and half-measure ObamaCare reforms.

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The Human Face of ObamaCare

PROMISES VS. REALITY AND WHAT COMES NEXT

America’s medical system faces severe and worsening problems under ObamaCare and can only be cured by a revolutionary turn toward public health insurance, according to this exposé.

Geyman (Souls on a Walk, 2012, etc.), a medical school professor and former editor of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, argues that while the number of uninsured has dropped because of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, spiraling costs and a decline in quality have left many Americans with unaffordable, inadequate, and insecure health care. He notes that tens of millions still go without insurance; that soaring deductibles and copayments mean that even insured patients often face crippling bills or have to forgo needed care and drugs; and that out-of-network fees and other fine-print gotchas result in huge unanticipated costs that still bankrupt families. Meanwhile, he contends, insurance companies have reduced their coverage and drastically restricted patients’ ability to choose their own hospitals and physicians, requiring them to drop their longtime doctors in favor of strangers and endure long waits because shrunken provider networks don’t have practitioners who can treat them. Geyman pulls no punches in detailing the failings of ObamaCare, but he’s equally hard on the market-based reforms of Republican opponents of the system (“If the Republicans have their way, individuals and families might pay less for skimpy insurance products, but would pay much more for necessary health care”). Instead, he fingers profit-driven health care as the root of the problem and advocates a Canadian-style, single-payer National Health Insurance program funded entirely by the government and delivered by private, not-for-profit hospitals and doctor groups. Geyman’s lucid and very readable (though sometimes repetitive) treatise has plenty of statistics to back up his arguments. But its heart is a series of individual health care horror stories wherein ordinary families find that ObamaCare promises of affordable treatments, universal access, and a choice of providers prove to be hollow. (One patient Geyman profiles was slapped with a $117,000 bill when an out-of-network consulting surgeon he had never met was called in while he was unconscious during a neck operation—a fee his insurer refused to pay.) The result is a smart, savvy analysis that shows the human cost of a broken system.

A compelling, hard-hitting indictment of U.S. health care and half-measure ObamaCare reforms.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-938218-02-6

Page Count: 238

Publisher: Copernicus Healthcare

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

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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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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