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Samaritans Paperback – April 14, 2017
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Lynn's protagonist is Max Green, a Vegas casino manager who decides he can bring in more money running a hospital. And he sort of does--by making choices that show he has even less empathy than the current US President.
I haven't read satire this hilarious and powerful since Riotous Assembly, the late Tom Sharpe's indictment of apartheid in South Africa. This is essential reading for anyone who has a body and wants to keep it alive.
M. G. Lord, Assistant Professor of English (Practice) at the University of Southern California; author of Forever Barbie and The Accidental Feminist.
Samaritans is the story of a struggling community hospital in Washington DC which appoints Max Green, an executive from a Las Vegas casino as its CEO in order to deal with its difficult financial situation. Max is a monster of self-centredness, greed and corporate malpractice whose approach to healthcare is summed up in this conversation with his secretary:
"What do you think we should do if our uninsured patients can't pay the bills?" [Max asked.]
"Same as your last business did, I expect."
"Break their legs?"
She smiled "No, silly, use a collection agency."
"You mean, bankrupt them?"
"If we have to. Otherwise everyone will want healthcare, whether they can afford it or not."
"You're exactly right," Max said. "people can't have what they can't afford. That's what got America into this economic mess – everybody wanting something for nothing. There's no morality in that, is there?"
Subtle, this ain't. It's a political polemic, really, but made witty and very readable by Lynn's comic skill. He aims somewhat crude but well-directed blows at corporate greed, management hypocrisy and callousness, the excesses and absurdities of the US healthcare industry and so on. The book is very well-researched, so people cite genuine cases describing just what Lynn is denouncing, making the whole thing quite chilling. (And do make sure you read the Epilogue when you've finished the main book. It's brief but brilliant, I think, especially in the light of recent political developments.)
Samaritans is an enjoyable read which made me smile, made me angry and made me think. Recommended.
(I received an ARC via Netgalley.)