How a single Ohio hospital reveals everything that’s wrong with the American health care system


When native journalist Brian Alexander was in search of the main focus of his newest ebook “The Hospital: Life, Dying, and {Dollars} in a Small American City.,” the reply got here simple: Bryan, Ohio.

“After I reported a narrative about rural hospitals for The Atlantic, I spoke to Phil Ennen, CEO of Group Hospitals and Wellness Facilities, or CHWC,” stated the award-wining creator. “After the story got here out, Phil requested me to come back to Bryan, discuss to some folks and take a look on the hospital.

“Throughout my go to, I spotted that by utilizing the lens of 1 small hospital in a single small city, I might say some issues not solely about American medical care, however about America on the whole. Although each place is a bit of totally different, CHWC and Bryan are avatars for the entire nation.”

“The Hospital” breaks down the complexity of a neighborhood hospital, its sufferers and their financial skill to pay for medical care. Additionally, it traces the historical past and magnitude of America’s well being care disaster.

Alexander’s earlier ebook, “Glass Home: The 1% Economic system and the Shattering of the All-American City,” gained a number of non-fiction awards, together with the Ohioana Award and was a finalist for the California Ebook Awards.

Alexander — who grew up in Lancaster, Ohio, and and now lives in San Diego — additionally wrote “Rapture: A Raucous Tour of Cloning, Transhumanism, and the New Period of Immortality” and “America Unzipped: In Search of Intercourse and Satisfaction.”

Q: Why isn’t well being care simply reasonably priced, and is it a privilege to have it?

A: Well being care shouldn’t be simply reasonably priced as a result of over the previous 100 years, we as a nation have determined to not let it’s simply reasonably priced. Costs mirror coverage. And, sadly, on this nation, good medical care continues to be a privilege and never a proper. The very fact is, wealthy folks dwell longer, more healthy lives. And the American economic system itself is killing folks.

Q: Who’re Phil Ennen and Keith Swihart?

A: Phil Ennen is the CEO of Group Hospitals and Wellness Facilities. Keith is a person I’ve adopted for about two and a half years now, as I adopted a number of different people who seem within the ebook. Because the ebook opens, he’s a hardworking fellow with a spouse and little boy. That adjustments because the ebook goes on, and Keith finds himself victimized by each the American economic system and American medical prices. In Keith’s case, the primary value is the insulin he must deal with his diabetes.

Q: How has nationwide politics performed into working an area hospital?

A: For over 100 years, this nation has argued about tips on how to present medical take care of its folks. These arguments most frequently happen within the political enviornment. So no a part of American medical care is free from politics, whether or not it’s working a small hospital, treating sufferers as a health care provider, being a affected person and even with the ability to entry wholesome meals.

Q: What can folks do to make medical care reasonably priced?

A: Vote for it.

Q: What two issues shocked you most throughout your analysis?

A: I used to be shocked by simply how fully the lingo and posture of enterprise has usurped American drugs. I used to be shocked by the willingness of individuals to maintain attempting to work onerous, to maintain obeying guidelines, to maintain ginning up their religion — each non secular and within the American lifestyle — when a lot of their expertise would appear to militate in opposition to it. That persons are not always within the streets surprises me typically.

Q: What’s your prediction for the way forward for well being care?

A: My hope or my prediction? My prediction is that Wall Road, within the type of non-public fairness traders and different monetary outfits, will take rising management of American drugs. Well being care is now the biggest chunk of the American economic system. It’s the place the cash is. The business will change into increasingly concentrated. Sufferers may have smaller and smaller voices. In the end, although, if these traits proceed, the insurance coverage mannequin will collapse. My hope is that none of that occurs and we create an actual nationwide well being plan.

Q: What’s your subsequent writing venture?

A: I’m engaged on a brand new ebook. I don’t wish to say a lot about it now, however it’ll look like a departure from my final two books, although. It’s a pure extension of these themes: How can we make a greater America?

“The Hospital: Life, Dying, and {Dollars} in a Small American City” by Brian Alexander, St. Martin’s Press, 320 pages.

Davidson is a contract author.


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