Publishers Weekly, 1995-06-19 To judge by Andrews's compelling examples, America's health care is already corporate-ized, reaping profits for insurers and migraines for everyone else. Since 1960, rising hospital and doctor costs, combined with a drop in the standard of living, mean that fewer than 61% of today's workers enjoy employer-paid health benefits. And while our hospitals perfect the latest techniques in organ transplants and laser surgery, our infant mortality is higher and our life expectancy lower than they are in most developed countries. These countries, the author argues, spend less on health care because they have removed or restricted the profit motive; affordable treatment isn't a privilege, it's a right. For example, the staff that handles universal health insurance for all of Canada's 25 million people is smaller than the staff that serves the 2.5 million clients of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Andrews's contribution to the health care reform movement, however, is not socioeconomic analysis but activism; his book is a result of his participation in the drive to pass the California Health Security Act of 1994 and offers lessons he and other advocates of a single-payer plan can glean from that failed initiative. Most of those lessons make good sense for any political campaign: (1) build a movement, don't sell a product, (2) don't fight a battle of TV ads (especially against the AMA), (3) appeal to collective interests, and (4) invest in educating consumers. Andrews urges reformers to attack the heart of America's health care malady-its reliance on corporate capital-and put people before profits. (Aug.)
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