| Summary

Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business — and Bad Medicine

"Bestselling investigative journalists Barlett and Steele (America: What Went Wrong?) deliver a devastating indictment, supported by excellent research, of a health-care system that they say is failing to provide first-rate services to its citizens. . ." — Publishers Weekly

". . .in Critical Condition, Barlett and Steele pan their unsparing searchlight across the whole landscape of corporate medicine: hospitals, HMOs, physicians and the ubiquitous pharmaceutical industry." — San Diego Union-Tribune

"The U.S. health care system described in Critical Condition is somewhere between dead and a persistent vegetative state. . . Barlett and Steele, famous investigative journalists, are searing in their indictment of the system." — Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Problems with health care in the United States seemingly are no longer news. . .But when Barlett-Steele write about those problems, almost nothing seems old. Part of their successful formula is relentless, long-term reporting that includes human sources and documents undiscovered by other journalists." — Houston Chronicle

"Critical Condition" may be the best non-fiction book you'll read all year." —

". . .lively and accessible Critical Condition ... dissects the consequences of privatizing many medical institutions, including hospitals, HMOs, physician practices and nursing homes. (Barlett and Steele) argue that this conversion to market-driven medicine caused many of today's deficiencies." — Washington Post

". . .After dozens of stunning newspaper projects, exposes for Time and its sister magazines, plus bestselling books -- Barlett and Steele remain two of the most talented, controversial investigative journalists in U.S. history. But decades of reporting have not dimmed their controlled outrage when it comes to abuse and fraud. It is apparent on every page of "Critical Condition." — San Jose Mercury News

"If I could buy every American one book to read before the next elections it would be Critical Condition. This book lays on the line the horrific state of our health care system in America and how every single person is going to be, if they are not already, deeply affected by it. Some will be more than just affected. Some will die because of it. And don't think you and your family are immune. The system is so diseased, we are all on the verge of being infected. — Marie D. Jones for

"As a life long conservative I could never have imagined rating this book highly, but it speaks the truth. The authors discuss the present day health care system, and where the present "market driven" emphasis has brought us as a nation. And truthfully, as we all know, it's not good. — M.J. Petrillo "Bookmark" Amazon

"Hippocrates said: "First, do no harm." The first rule of Wall Street, however, is: Make money. Critical Condition, by the investigative team of Barlett and Steele, is a story about how health care in modern America has become a racket: A few profit handsomely while doing the rest of us significant harm — Mother Jones

"The United States has the best health care in the world. Right? Wrong. This country's health-care system is in a shambles. . .The rot is exposed in "Critical Condition," written by Donald Barlett and James Steele, perhaps the finest team of investigative journalists in history. — Cleveland Plain Dealer

"As a doctor who has been tracking and documenting the development of corporate medicine and the application of market thinking and market processes in health care for over 10 years. . .from outside the USA, it was an absolute delight to find credible US authors who had actually identified the core problem as the market itself. — Dr. James M. Wynne,

". . .Health care is an inaudible blip on the American media's national issues radar. So, leave it to investigative journalism stalwarts Donald L Barlett & James B. Steele to throw their pens into the fray with their latest work, Critical Condition. If the time comes, and if the history of empires and great powers is to be believed, obituaries of the once mighty U.S. will come through the hindsight of historians, pundits and soothsayers. Whatever course reflections take, they will inevitably veer through a shelf of not-so ancient texts by a pair of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists who have been chronicling America's ills for over three decades. Barlett & Steele's tomes have weaved the decline of America's economic superpower status into a cautionary tale for well over a decade with the likes of America: Who Stole the Dream?, The Great American Tax Dodge and America: What Went Wrong?. Conservative ideologues like to drag Barlett & Steele down to a dogmatic wrestling mat, trying to pin them with innuendos of Marxism, communism and socialism, but their work, like many arguments of social and economic equality that emanate from the liberal quarters of the U.S., is rooted in morality and commonsense.