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Making a Killing
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Making a Killing
HMOs and the Threat to Your Health
by Foreword by Ralph Nader Frank Smith

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Edition: paper, 230 pages
Dimensions: 5.5x8
If a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is your family's medical provider, just hope you never face a medical crisis. This compelling book tells story after story of people who got caught--and killed--in a system aimed at profit.

Like little Chad, who died after having a reaction to a vaccination, and being denied treatment. Or David Goodrich, who waited too long for HMO approval of a cancer treatment that might have saved his life.

Read the human stories behind the HMO statistics. Find out the real cost of savings gained at the bottom line.

In Making a Killing, consumer activists Jamie Court and Francis Smith take on the corporate world of managed-care and explain, in plain language, what HMOs mean for your health, and who really profits from the managed-care system.

Learn about our health-care system from the man (Court) who, in April 1999, on behalf of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, along with three Aetna members, filed a class-action suit against Aetna under the federal anti-racketeering law.

Making a Killing tells the stories of real people facing medical nightmares of a kind made all too common by managed care. It also exposes the profit-motive behind the misery, revealing the sordid collusion of the insurance industry's powerful lobbyists with Congress and state legislatures to block any serious reforms.

Yet the book is more than an indictment of a corrupt, inefficient system--it is also a spring-board for action. An "HMO Patients Self-Defense Kit" helps people overcome HMO stonewalling techniques and get the care they deserve.

* 78 percent of people polled by Harvard University in September 1998 said they want greater consumer protections for patients in managed-care programs.

* 33 percent said they were "very worried" their health plan was more concerned about saving money than taking care of them, up from only 18 percent in September 1997.

* 77 percent said their views of HMOs were shaped by their own experiences, or by friends and family. Only 17 percent said their views resulted from media horror stories.

* More than half--57 percent--said they'd had problems with their managed-care plans, up from 48 percent in December 1997. Thirty percent, for example, had trouble getting an emergency room bill paid, up from 19 percent; 15 percent had problems getting permission to see a gynecologist, up from 6 percent.

While addressing mainly the threat to patients, authors Court and Smith also expose the fact that the HMOs, who seized control from doctors and nurses a decade ago, have gone back on their promise to reduce health costs.

This book is a persuasive indictment of HMO medicine, using real people's stories to paint a picture of a mis-managed system that is a death trap for patients and quicksand for good public policy.

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