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The Tin Woodsman, Dick Cheney, was given a new heart, and the scarecrow, Joe Biden, was allowed to keep his brain. (He had an aneurysm that bled).
But we don't live in Oz, and there is no wizard. A courageous lion named Lyndon provided socialized health care to the elderly and impoverished. Hillary tried to give it to the rest of us, and she was demonized. Barack managed to squeeze the Affordable Care Act through Congress. Eight years later, in defiance of a law that would have excluded thousands-that would have prevented many blind and lame from being healed-John McCain turned his thumb down.
We've allowed insurance companies to teach our young that med-ical care is not a shared responsibility, and many were surprised when the youth thought it unfair when we asked them to contribute to the cost of everyone's health insurance. We taught pharmaceutical manufacturers to not worry when they spend billions and buy other companies for their drugs. We will reimburse the acquisition cost and pay what the compa-nies charge for the medications. We tell the poor of the world who can't remotely afford expensive medications and whose countries belong to the World Trade Organization-"suck it up." And we tell the wealthy to buy stock and become part of the bonanza.
Modern health care is 120 years old. This book is about the history of mankind's remarkable accomplishments and the forces that are shaping its future. Those who read it may not live longer, grow a thick head of hair, or avoid Alzheimer's. But an understanding of how we got to this point and the challenges we face matters.
Understanding Modern Health Care: The Wonders We Created and the Potholes We Dug