Foreword Reviews

The Purple World

Healing the Harm in American Health Care

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

The Purple World is a powerful and insightful text that forwards suggestions for common sense health care reform.

Joseph Q. Jarvis’s personalized The Purple World focuses on health care and navigates partisan lines with skill, critiquing the for-profit models of the US’s medical infrastructures.

Jarvis draws upon his experience as a Nevada state health officer, clinical practitioner, and health policy advocate to anecdotally discuss the mismanagement and failures of the US health care system. The text’s core assertion is that Democrats (blue) and Republicans (red) are too reliant on health industry lobbyists to be motivated to make adequate strides toward better health care, resulting in a mixed “purple world.” It advocates for regulations and health care reform focused on cost cutting without letting the quality of care drop, and it documents examples of brokenness, including outbreaks of infectious diseases and state officials failing to address safety hazards like mold and tobacco smoke.

The book’s examples of health care mismanagement and inaction are attention-grabbing and appalling, revealing part of the health care industry that few ever see. Humor appears at important moments and is uplifting in the midst of otherwise bleak work, as when the book relates a case of a scam pharmaceutical company being copycatted by a second, also ineffective pill made of actual Nevada dirt.

Every strong opinion in the text is backed by compelling arguments that draw upon data and science. Its tone is both restrained and passionate as it relates stories of schemes to avoid low-ability-to-pay patients at hospitals, stories of wild misunderstandings regarding how diseases are transmitted, and other grounding material.

Placing contemporary health care challenges in the context of medical history, the text draws subtle connections—for example, recalling a late sixteenth century doctor who negotiated his fees while patients were in pain in order to get the highest possible price, illustrating how easy citizens are to swindle when they need life-saving care.

Points are made with credible expertise, and the complex topic is approached in a clear way, utilizing precise but accessible diction. The text repeats its rallying cry to excess, though, and its metaphor of a “purple world” is referenced in multiple contexts, clouding its meaning.

Jarvis writes as both a physician and a person of faith, and the book’s anecdotes consciously appeal to readers from both political parties, questioning how faith and science might work together to support a radical shift in health care policy. Its bipartisan agenda is usefully forwarded, resulting in an encouraging, serious, and logically conveyed medical manifesto.

The Purple World is a powerful and insightful text that forwards suggestions for common sense health care reform.

Reviewed by Laura Leavitt

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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