Press release

"SICK: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price," By Jonathan Cohn, Now Available in Paperback

"...a terrific new book on our dysfunctional health care system..."

-Paul Krugman, "The New York Times"

Recently named a finalist for Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award and World Hunger Year Harry Chapin Media Award

New York — As the health care reform debate continues to intensify, millions of Americans are still struggling to find affordable medical care for themselves and their families — often leading to long-delayed treatment of illness and financial ruin. In "SICK: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis — and the People Who Pay the Price" (HarperCollins; May 2008), veteran journalist and Demos senior fellow Jonathan Cohn presents a fascinating, first-hand account of the reality of America's failing health care system. And in the newly updated paperback edition, Cohn also surveys the political landscape — with a focus on the competing visions Democrats and Republicans will take into the fall election.

As the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee health care to its citizens and with over 47 million uninsured and tens of millions more underinsured, the United States is at a crossroads. The health care crisis will only grow as Baby Boomers retire, employers continue to shed comprehensive health packages, and health care providers shift more costs to patients.

Cohn contributes to the call for dramatic reform by demonstrating in striking terms that the American health insurance system, first created in the 1930s, is truly collapsing. Unless we have an immediate national investment in affordable and accessible health care, Cohn warns, Americans will suffer a decline in health and longevity — a reversal to standards of a century ago.

Combining original reporting from Washington, accounts from those who engineered the current health care conversation, and testimonies from ordinary people nationwide who have suffered along the way, Jonathan Cohn presents stories from the front lines of the medical crisis that will resonate with both those who have come face-to-face with the failings of the American health care system, and those who are responsible for it.

As Kirkus Reviews put it: "[Cohn] not only highlights current problems here, he also provides a history of health insurance in this country and the political thinking and social forces that have helped to shape it&[A] compelling portrait of a deeply troubled system."

Cohn also brings readers up to speed on the latest political debates, tracing the fight over children's health insurance last year and scrutinizing the proposals candidates from both parties have been making in the campaign. Cohn says that this election will present voters with a clear choice — between a candidate who believes health insurance is a right that all Americans should enjoy and a candidate who does not.

 

A Look Inside "SICK":

Gilbertsville, New York

Gary Rotzler is living the American dream — married to his high school sweetheart, father of three young kids, homeowner in a bucolic Catskill Mountainsvillage. But when Gary loses his job at a defense contractor, he loses his family's health benefits, too. When he returns to his old employer, the company claims it is reacting to competition in the marketplace and cannot offer benefits. Eventually the Rotzlers end up forgoing routine medical care — a decision that will haunt them when Betsy's worsening back pain turns out to be more than simple fatigue&

Austin, Texas

When Elizabeth Hilsabeck gives birth to twins in her twenty-third week of pregnancy, the doctors tell her the babies probably won't live. Although the twins survive, her son Parker has a series of early medical problems eventually diagnosed as cerebral palsy. Fortunately, her husband's job at a local Austin bank provides great health insurance. But when she tries to get Parker physical therapy, which physicians say is his best hope, her biggest obstacle is navigating managed care. Her HMO doesn't agree with the doctors and even some of her husband's co-workers question why their premiums should go up just so Parker can get therapy that might not even work.

 

About the Author:

Veteran journalist Jonathan Cohn is a senior fellow at the think-tank Demos and senior editor at "The New Republic," where he has written about health care policy for the last decade. Cohn — whom the "Washington Post" has called "one of the nation's leading experts on health care policy" — has written detailed analysis of each candidate's health care plan over the last year. His coverage has received widespread recognition, including from the candidates themselves.

He served as a contributing editor at "The American Prospect" and a media fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation. He has written for the "New York Times," "Washington Post," "Mother Jones," "Rolling Stone," "Slate," and the "Washington Monthly." A graduate of Harvard, he lives in Ann Arbor,Michigan, with his wife and two children.

 

Author Availability:

Jonathan Cohn will be available for comment and interviews beginning Tuesday, May 27th. He will also be appearing with Senator Tom Daschle at the Chicago Tribune/Printer's Row Book Fair on Saturday, June 7.

If you would like to schedule an interview with Jonathan Cohn, or to receive a review copy of "SICK," please contact Gennady Kolker, Demos, at gkolker@demos.org.

 

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