The Purple World
By Dr. Joseph Q. Jarvis
The Purple World
By Dr. Joseph Q. Jarvis
You get what you pay for, right?
Not when it comes to health care in America. We pay twice as much as any other developed nation for health care, yet we have the worst health of them all. If the safety record of American hospitals were transposed onto the airline industry, a fully loaded 747 would crash every other week! And while we pay the highest taxes for health care in the world, tens of thousands of Americans die each year from treatable illness merely because they can’t afford medical care.
How did we reach this shameful state? You’ll be shocked to find out not only who’s to blame, but more importantly, how easy the solution can be.
Check out the Reviews!
Review by THE BOOK BREAK host, Melissa Dalton Martinez:
“The Purple World by Dr. Joseph Q. Jarvis is a very thought provoking book. Before reading the book I knew health care system in the U.S. was bad, but I didn’t realize it was that bad, and I certainly didn’t have a clue how to fix it. I also really did not understand single payer and mostly believed the lies in the media that it was some kind of socialism. Now after reading The Purple World, I have a greater understanding of our health care system. I realize that there is actually a good solution, and surprisingly to me, single payer is the answer. This book is not only informative, but also it had times that made me laugh and made me cry through the wonderfully written stories that Jarvis shares from his years of experience in the health care industry. I think EVERYONE should read this book! “
Review by Debbie Haupt for IndieReader:
“THE PURPLE WORLD: Healing the Harm in American Health Care by Dr. Joseph Q. Jarvis is a scary and unfortunately realistic look at the U.S. healthcare industry, that is in his words, “abysmal”–the most expensive, most wasteful and least effective of all first world countries where nearly 20% of our GNP is devoted to healthcare. Dr. Jarvis puts the blame right on the monetizing of healthcare and the greedy and often unethical practices by for-profit healthcare insurers. The title for the book is taken from his medical school days, where one professor stated; “If urine were red and stool were blue we would live in a (contaminated) purple world”.
Dr. Jarvis begins his terrifying tale by giving a brief history of modern medicine, with its origins in Europe, highlighting breakthroughs like the discovery of the clinical science of surgery to discoveries like penicillin and the use of hand washing for germ control (a less purple world) and the brilliant (mostly) men behind the breakthroughs. He also tells of his own nightmarish experiences with healthcare as a public health official in Nevada, the political and medical barriers that were put in front of him–making it at times almost impossible to do his job. He also discusses the still present day practice of Quackery by doctors to treat their patients.
Dr. Jarvis emphasizes the fact that the US healthcare industry is irrevocably broken and cannot be fixed until “we the people” remove the insurance lobbyists that have many US political officials either in their pockets or so loaded down with threats that they’re ineffective and useless. A true bipartisan, Dr. Jarvis is against both Obamacare (mandated) and it’s “mean-spirited corollary”, Trumpcare, calling them both massively expensive and ineffectual. He sites the fact that the most common cause of bankruptcy in the US is healthcare related.
In THE PURPLE WORLD, Dr. Joseph Q. Jarvis gives readers a factual, comprehensive and well-written look at this very serious issue, not only telling what’s wrong with US healthcare, but giving information on how to make the system work. A worthwhile read for every US citizen.”
Review by SPR Self-Publishing Reviews:
“The healthcare system in the United States has been in a state of change and narrowly averted collapse for some years now, and The Purple World: Healing the Harm in American Health Care by Joseph Q. Jarvis MD, MSPH provides both a professional and personal perspective on this critical issue.
Attempting to parse the ever-changing landscape of American healthcare is challenging, and forming a clear, comprehensive picture of the options, loopholes, tax ramifications and benefits is nearly impossible. Jarvis begins by establishing the crisis facing America, making his political stance known in the opening of this book, but fortunately, this is not a 200-page rant about one party’s missteps when it comes to healthcare. Instead, Jarvis takes readers through his own life and medical practice, giving most of this book the feel of a intimate, but intentional memoir.
From specific patient anecdotes to larger existential crises he has faced throughout his career, Jarvis illuminates the severe failings of our medical system in comparison to the rest of the world, but does so through heartbreaking, frustrating and viscerally affecting examples. One point that sticks out in particular is the fact that only 1% of the funds spend on healthcare go to public health services, despite that being where the majority of major community health achievements are made. These small, memorable points from the author tie the personal stories together, and link them back to the much larger and more relatable issues for readers.
By structuring it in this form, and sharing stories from all over dealing with people from different types of socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, the biases and unfair practices implicit in the system are hard to miss. Reading news articles or economic analyses of healthcare options, it is easy to forget about the people behind the numbers, but Jarvis brings these personal tragedies to the fore. He is also an excellent storyteller, which is how this book can truly act as a bridge for people of different viewpoints.
That said, he does occasionally paint with a broad brush, and some of the generalizations he makes about previous healthcare systems are based on opinion, rather than demonstrable fact. While Jarvis does have a vast range of experience, he hasn’t practiced in every state, nor does he have a completely reliable finger on the pulse of public opinion around the country. If hi’s intention is to appeal to both sides of the aisle, the argument for change must be founded in unbiased truth. The references and materials Jarvis includes are helpful, and the book is mostly well-executed, but less reliance on opinion could strengthen his argument.
All in all, The Purple World is a unique and inspiring story of a medical professional who has stood on the front lines of the healthcare crisis in America. Most importantly, the book presents some viable solutions that could carry the country forward in a healthy, sustainable, and more humane way. Wherever you fall in this debate, there is much to be learned from the author’s perspective and experiences.”
Review by Blue Ink Reviews:
Non-ideological and straight-talking, Jarvis has provided patient care and negotiated with HMO executives, qualifying him to assess all sides of our behemoth system. His diagnosis is not surprising: Americans don’t have the best health care, only the most profitable. The “medical industry complex,” he writes, exerts a “public policy vise” on Congress, which allows insurance companies to transfer the growing price of care to patients. Medicine has been reduced to a business opportunity, but one cannot maximize profits and optimize care, he argues.
His prescription? States should start seizing power from Washington and offer comprehensive, publicly financed health benefits to every citizen. Among his recommendations: enrollment should be easy, even automatic; patients should have a choice of doctors and no out of-pocket expenses; and those with mental illness and addiction should no longer be criminalized. He convincingly explains exactly how this will save money and improve care, partly by introducing social accountability – putting patients above profit– into health care delivery.
Jarvis isn’t all policy wonk, though. He explains why he left family practice to find purpose as a public health officer in Nevada. He relates many entertaining and educational stories, such as how his agency tried to address indoor air pollution in the Nevada state legislative building, but one three-pack-a-day smoker in the senate (Marvin Sedway) resisted all efforts to restrict smoking on his side.
Jarvis brings quiet authority to his unabashed crusade for change, most recently as a Republican candidate (unsuccessful) for the Utah state senate and creator of a non-profit organization providing credible information to the public. Voters must shun party labels and become “purple,” he argues. Amazingly, he makes change seem not only smart, but feasible.”
Review by Utah Stories:
“The healthcare debate like the border wall, immigration policy and Russia collusion has our country completely divided along political lines. But healthcare—unlike the other issues—offers a few major points on which almost everyone can agree:
Obamacare has not succeeded in lowering insurance costs for the majority of Americans.
Insurance companies have created a disconnect between people and their doctors
A fair and free-market for healthcare is non-existent in the United States, due to insurance companies and lobbyists buying off our FDA and politicians.
Americans can still end up financially devastated and bankrupt due to major healthcare problems.
It’s due to these four major problems and the complete gridlock in Washington which lead Salt Lake City resident and long-time healthcare professional, Joe Jarvis, to write the book “The Purple World: Healing the Harm in American Healthcare”. We invited Dr. Jarvis on our new Utah Stories podcast to discuss the issue.
Jarvis offers some interesting ideas which are not partisan-based, but instead are common- sense based and “purple”. According to Jarvis (no relations to Jarvik–who invented the artificial heart)–a single-payer health care system would save our country trillions of dollars over the next thirty years. Our federal government could do this by extending Medicare to everyone. Medicare is a much more efficient system than private insurance, says Jarvis.
On a state level, a single-payer program operated by an NGO (non-profit), would negotiate drug costs directly with healthcare providers and drug companies. Either model would cost much less than the estimated current 20% of our GDP on healthcare, said Jarvis. Jarvis and I debated the point over whether or not healthcare is or ever should be “market-driven” in the United States.
I contest Jarvis’ solution for a few reasons. First, when we lived in the U.K. we found a very broken system. The UK government in 2012 was attempting to save 1 billion pounds by telling all doctors that they were not allowed to spend more than fifteen minutes with any one patient. And no patient could bring up more than one ailment at a time.
The result of this policy was that anyone who could afford to see a “private doctor” would do so, and these special “private physicians” were not accepting patients who were seeking state-care. This was because the state-regulated medical care didn’t pay the best doctors enough, and this resulted in a two-tier system.
My primary question for Jarvis is: How would a single-payer system in the United States not end up resulting in the same problems found in the UK and Canada?
Jarvis’ response was that the UK medical care is far underfunded. It’s for this reason that the UK is faced with these problems. The UK needs to spend more on healthcare. Jarvis pointed out that surveys find that people in the UK are far happier with their healthcare than people in the United States. This was verified by a few stories I found from NPR and others.
I also asked Jarvis how a single-payer system would cost less, when the services are offered free for everyone? Wouldn’t a few patients (possibly hypochondriacs) eat up far more resources, which might result in patients receiving limited care?
Dr. Jarvis did not believe this would be an issue. He didn’t believe there were enough people who “want to get their legs poked with needles,” that would drive up costs.
As a libertarian, I’m naturally opposed to asking the government to find a solution to this problem. I would prefer in finding ways to get the government out of the way. But the costs of procedures make it difficult for me to maintain this belief. Life saving procedures can cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep people alive, so why should only the rich be able to afford care and the poor become financially devastated when choosing to extend their lives?
Dr. Jarvis might have swayed my opinion on the idea of a single-payer healthcare system working in the United States. I will need to do a bit more research on the costs. But if the financial statistics he cites are valid, and a single-payer healthcare system would in fact be cheaper, then it would be a huge equalizing force especially small business owners and entrepreneurs to not need to provide healthcare to their for themselves or their employees.
THE ACTUAL COSTS OF A SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES
If the overall cost to the American economy of placing everyone on Medicare was that the pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. might be less innovative, due to a decrease in profits, and insurance companies would lose a big segment of their businesses– these costs would be more than made up for with the ability of small businesses becoming more competitive in hiring talented people, which would make for a more fair marketplace.
It’s currently a hugely difficult challenge for small businesses to attract talent due the prohibitive costs of providing healthcare to employees. We know this personally at Utah Stories.
One point of which I certainly agree with Dr. Jarvis, is that something drastic must be done with our current broken healthcare system in the U.S. Lives should not be devastated when people decide to pay out-of-pocket for cancer treatment for loved ones. Further, insurance costs for families who choose to be self employed are far too expensive and continue to rise since Obamacare. Obamacare was sold to Americans based on false pretense. “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor”; and insurance costs will go down while care would improve. All of these basic points proved to be untrue.
HEALTHCARE AS A RIGHT
I pointed out to Dr. Jarvis that if we are going to label healthcare as a right, why would we not also decide then that the availability of healthy, nutritional food should first be a right? Healthcare flows downstream from nutrition and overall health.
Individual healthcare costs are completely dependent upon a person’s lifestyle choices. If the government is going to pay for our healthcare, there should be mechanisms in place to promote better health for all Americans.
A major factor for our healthcare in the US costing twenty-percent of our GDP is because so many Americans eat far too much processed food, high-sugar/fat diets and consume far too much medicine to combat bad choices. Many Americans who spend years consuming medicine, need to take other medicine to combat the ill-side effects of their medication.
Why not treat the root of the problem? Forty-percent of all adult Americans are obese and 20% of adolescents, an all-time high. These basic facts lead to the need for spending massive amounts on diabetes, heart diseases and high blood pressure medications.
I believe we could possibly enact a single-payer system if everyone who used the care had “skin in the game.” Meaning that out-of-pocket costs for most care procedures and doctor visits would still exist for the majority of Americans. Whereas if someone absolutely needed a major medical procedure it would mostly be covered. But there should be mechanisms in place to keep more americans healthier.
If the government is going to be paying for healthcare, I like the idea of allowing citizens to opt-into receiving tax credits for staying healthy. If the government is providing tax subsidies for buying an electric cars, why not provide subsidies to those who walk or bike to work who both help the environment and improve their health? Why not offer tax incentives for those who maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle?
I appreciate Dr. Jarvis coming on the program. Our discussion is a great example of what I hope to accomplish with the Utah Stories Show: We want to facilitate civil and honest discourse with thought leaders and experts to help make Utah a better place.”