“Insurance agencies aren’t evil, they are merely motivated against the interests of their customers because they prioritize the interests of their shareholders. And maybe if customers had choices - instead of being locked into their employer’s subsidized choices or forced to shop alone without the benefit of a pool prices, maybe if medical services weren’t essential services - meaning customers could negotiate over their coverage and people who can’t get private coverage because of preexisting conditions weren’t inconvenienced, maybe if insurance companies didn’t have state by state monopolies and exceptions from the government that protected them, then maybe we wouldn’t be complaining about how evil the insurance companies are because they wouldn’t have the opportunity.
But the fact is they do, so they are, and that because they are taking advantage of the rules of the game.
So it makes perfect sense to change the rules of the game when the current game is faulty.
What would make even more sense is to change the game completely, as is done in other countries, and socialize the whole system. Be thankful that option was taken off the table long ago.”


Winter Reading List

On Tuesday, CJR
asked readers
to suggest some titles for its annual list of books that journalists ought to read over the winter. Here are a few of the suggestions we’ve received so far.

“‘Gaily, Gaily’ by Ben Hecht. A terrific book written in 1963 about a young Chicago reporter’s life in the 19-teens, when newspapers were racy, fun, uninhibited and occasionally accurate. Hecht got fired for writing a book considered obscene in 1922, so you know he was onto something.”

Aaron Elstein

“I still put in my vote for Ian Frazier’s “Great Plains”—peripatetic reporting, gorgeous prose, and funny to boot. I’m almost as fond of “Family,” which is both more personal and historically broader in its reach (i.e., the rise and fall, or at least gradual downsizing, of the American WASP). “

James Marcus

“‘The Curse of the Mogul’ by Jonathan A. Knee, Bruce C. Greenwald and Ava Seave (Portfolio).

“It’s a mostly readable business book that takes a contrarian’s view of much of what passes for wisdom about media companies. (Since few journalists understand one bit about the business they are in, that should be enough to recommed this book right there.) Big lesson: Investing in media companies is dumb; working for them isn’t.

“The book makes a case that Bloomberg is a brilliant company while most others are considerably less than brilliant.

“No matter. What’s important here, for journalists, is that the authors explain how our multi-platform business operates today…and, as I read the book, why old print media remain pretty good enterprises despite the digital onslaught.”

J.D. Crook

The Editors