Terminal Condition

    Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, in Critical Condition (Doubleday, 2004), focused their skills as investigative journalists, on the American health care system. 

     The nature of our dysfunctional system is analyzed in great detail. The book should have sparked a national demand for sweeping reform in healthcare because of its shocking revelations. That it failed to produce a public outcry is an indication of the power of the healthcare industry’s control of the media.

      A concise summary of the book can be found in a quote from page 73:


            “This, then, is the sorry picture of health care in America. We spend

            more money than anyone else in the world – and have less to show

            for it. We have a second-rate system that doesn’t adequately cover

            half or more of the population. We encourage hospitals and doctors

            to perform unnecessary medical procedures on people who don’t need

            them, while denying the procedures to those who do. We clog our

            emergency rooms with patients who have insurance because they

            can’t get in to see their doctors. We stand a good chance of dying

            from a prescription drug taken at home. We charge the poor far

            more for their medical services than we do the rich. We force

            senior citizens with modest incomes to board a bus and travel to

           Canada  or Mexico to buy drugs they can’t afford here. We require
            ambulances to drive around a city until they can find a  hospital
            willing to accept a patient for emergency treatment.  We have a
            system in such constant turmoil that almost everyone involved is
            unhappy – patients, doctors, nurses aides, technicians.  Almost
But for a lucky few, the turmoil  is worth a lot of money.”

National Capitalism

      From 1933-1945, the governing principle of Germany’s political, social, and

economic life was known as National Socialism.  Its central tenet was that all individual

efforts were to be subservient to the needs of German society.  The individual’s goal and highest

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