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Simply Common Sense

By Umang Malhotra

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4401-8019-4

Malhotra leads readers on a journey through the dramatic pitfalls of the American health-care system,

posing solutions–both his and others’–along the way.

Malhotra (Individual, Society, and the World, 2004) begins by quoting George W. Bush: “Ours is the

best health care system in the world.” The author attributes similar assertions to politicians on both sides

of this country’s bipartisan divide. The book acts as a comprehensive refute to Bush’s statement, which

Malhotra claims is made to yank the heartstrings of U.S. patriotism. His argument is simple enough–that the pitfalls of American health care come from the system’s reliance on capitalist practices by both insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Furthermore, he claims that the politicians who attempt to regulate and change the system–while scaring citizens away from reforms like universal care by using the term “socialist”–are in the pockets of these moneymaking interests. Malhotra’s support comes from a study of the way health-care systems work in other “rich” countries, including Japan, England and Australia. A comparison boils down to the fact that the United States pays twice as much for health care annually per capita than any other country, and our infant mortality rate, life expectancy and overall health are suffering compared to such countries. The latter part of the book goes indepth into the American system, detailing limited public-insurance options, overcomplex coverage schemes, irresponsible instances of pharmaceutical spending and medical litigation, and other instances of commonsense inefficiency and blatant injustice. His points are strong and well-made, though the bulk of his facts come from 2005 and before. In parts, Malhotra’s prose feels excessively explanatory and didactic, yet overall the book is an enlightening read.

Offers plenty of evidence to back up one of our time’s most contentious debates.