Cost of Living

Holt. Feb. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9781250213297. $27.99. MEMOIR
Maloney’s debut collection of essays is an intimate view of the United States health care system from her perspective as both a patient and a caregiver. She narrates her personal experiences as a patient in the U.S. mental health system, clearly depicting an aspect of health care that doesn’t currently help people in need. Maloney paints a picture of the greed of some health care providers, who she says line their own pockets rather than help people who are in pain; the frequent burnout experienced by workers in high-stress environments; and what she calls the dangerous nature of training hospitals. Maloney’s book also gives information about billing, insurance coding, debt collection, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, and mental health providers, in a way that will stimulate conversations about the flaws in the system. Maloney’s behind-the-scenes look at health care and how the system works is in equal parts heart-wrenching, humorous, and infuriating; an important work for readers who have experienced health care in the United States or who seek to understand the industry.
VERDICT Maloney’s nontraditional health care memoir serves as a warning for those who’ve never had to stay in the hospital stay, and sends the message that there is work to be done.
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