Hospital City, Health Care Nation: Race, Capital, and the Costs of American Health Care

Univ. of Pennsylvania. Apr. 2023. 392p. ISBN 9781512823936. $45. MED
McKee (presidential studies, Univ. of Virginia; The Problem of Jobs) links urban hospitals, academic medical centers, health care spending, and community economics to urban renewal, community health initiatives, racial health disparities, and constraints on reform. The author uses the phrase “hospital city” to describe the health care industry’s seizing of multiple facets of community life, such as providing jobs and social services. Citing John Hopkins Hospital as his case study, the author argues that health care spending, insurance, and growth are all equally responsible for the industry’s issues. Recognizing the need for reform, McKee acknowledges that the United States’ free-market approach leads to competition between the major hospitals and health care systems, causing them to expand by establishing facilities and clinics locally and internationally. The book’s endnotes are heavy with government documents that provide useful resources ranging from the 1950s to 2021, and its 11 chapters include a few black-and-white illustrations and easily identified acronyms, plus a glossary of acronyms. Similar titles focus on specific problems, such as racial disparities in health care and reform, while this book touches on all areas.
VERDICT Will likely appeal to graduate students, professionals, and think tanks interested in all aspects of the health care system.
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