Sered, an anthropologist, and Fernandopulle, a doctor specializing in public-health policy, provide a troubling look at Americans without health insurance, some of whom must choose between food and medical treatment. They interviewed more than 120 uninsured Americans in Texas, Mississippi, Idaho, Illinois, and Massachusetts as well as physicians, administrators, and health-policy officials. The result is a collection of heartrending stories of the "caste of the ill, the infirm, and the marginally employed." The authors describe the "death spiral" of people who lack insurance for myriad reasons--including self-employment and divorce--and whose illnesses cannot be adequately treated. Their medical conditions inevitably deteriorate--small tumors metastasize, diabetes leads to amputation or dialysis treatments--increasing both the costs and the dire consequences. Once individuals are caught in the death spiral, they are unlikely to find a way out. The ultimate impact of this shocking crisis is felt by all Americans in the form of higher health-care costs and more antibiotic-resistant bacteria as conditions go untreated. This is a stark and disturbing book. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"'The next time someone tells you the United States has 'the best health care system in the world,' ask them to read this powerful, heartbreaking book. Never have the real stories of America's uninsured been told with such clarity and insight." - John E. McDonough, DPH, Health Care For All, Boston"