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Uninsured in America: Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity

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Reaching beyond statistics and prevalent assumptions, Uninsured in America goes to the heart of why more than forty million Americans are falling through the cracks in the health care system, and what it means for society as a whole when so many people suffer the consequences of inadequate medical care. Based on interviews with 120 uninsured men and women and dozens of medical providers, policymakers, and advocates from around the nation, this book takes a fresh look at one of the most important social issues facing the United States today. The vivid and moving stories of those interviewed illustrate the complicated dilemmas--including full-time family caregiving, sudden illness, self-employment, layoffs, and on-the-job injuries--faced by those trying to balance medical problems with housing costs and other daily necessities. This engrossing, accessible, and timely book concludes that our current health care system is leading to fundamental structural changes in American society.

"This important work gives a voice to some of the 44 million Americans who are at the center of the debate over coverage for the uninsured in this country. While there is much discussion of how to address this crisis, these individuals tell us why we must solve this problem: the costs and consequences of living without health insurance are dire."--Karen Davis, Ph.D., President of the Commonwealth Fund

"A vivid, indignant, and important book, and it does one thing better than any other before: Uninsured makes the abandoned millions visible again. Read it. You will not see the people at a subway stop, behind a cash register, or in your government the same way again."--Atul Gawande, M.D., author of Complications

"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

"Uninsured is both compassionate and insightful. Necessary reading for all policy makers and anyone who wants a deeper understanding of how our health care system must be reformed. " --Judy Norsigian, Executive Director, Our Bodies Ourselves

About the Author

Susan Starr Sered
is Senior Research Associate at Suffolk University's Center for Women's Health and Human Rights, and former Research Director at Harvard University's Center for the Study of World Religions. She is a medical anthropologist and the author of numerous articles and books, including Religion and Healing in America (2004), and What Makes Women Sick? Militarism, Maternity and Modesty in Israeli Society (2000).

Rushika Fernandopulle
is a physician who serves on the clinical staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the faculty of Harvard Medical School. He was the first Executive Director of the Harvard Interfaculty Program for Health Systems Improvement, and is the author of a number of books and articles, including Footsteps: Profiles of Forty Remarkable Health Care Leaders (2005), and Health Care Policy Explained (1995).
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