Cohn, Jonathan

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Cohn, Jonathan


Married; children: two. Education: Attended Harvard University.


Home—Ann Arbor, MI. Office—New Republic, 1331 H St. N.W., Ste. 700, Washington, DC 20005.


Writer for American Prospect, 1991-97; New Republic, Washington, DC, executive editor for two years, senior editor, 1997—. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, media fellow, 2002-04; Demos (think tank), senior fellow.


Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price, HarperCollins Publishers (New York, NY), 2007.

Has contributed to periodicals, including Boston Globe, Mother Jones, New York Times, Slate, and Washington Monthly.


As a journalist Jonathan Cohn has covered domestic and social policies, with a special focus on social welfare and health-care issues. His 2007 book, Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price, takes a more in-depth view of America's health-care crisis by humanizing the problem. Cohn presents numerous striking personal stories of people who have lost their insurance due to job loss; they subsequently watch as family members suffer and die. Speaking with Mary Carmichael in Newsweek, Cohn noted: "Our health-care problems have definitely gotten worse since the 1990s. People are really struggling to afford medical care. But does that mean the public is ready to embrace universal health care? I'm not so sure." Yet that is in part the prescription that Cohn delivers, for, as he recounts, the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee its citizens health care. Totally privatized, capitalist-system medicine does not seem to be meeting the challenge of the increasing numbers of uninsured.

Sick received widespread critical attention. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Sally Satel faulted Cohn for failing to provide enough alternatives to the current health-care delivery system, but nonetheless praised the work as "important" in furthering the debate. Library Journal contributor Dick Maxwell declared the same work "a convincing collection of stories about people dealing with the inequities and problems in the present system," while a Kirkus Reviews critic called Sick a "compelling portrait of a deeply troubled system." Similar praise came from a Publishers Weekly reviewer: "Cohn is eloquent, and he's good at using case studies to dramatize and explain complex issues." Columbia Journalism Review critic Kevin Drum observed that "Cohn is a terrific storyteller, as well as one who doesn't insist on twisting his tales into polemics."



Booklist, March 1, 2007, Vanessa Bush, review of Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price, p. 45.

Chicago Tribune Books, May 26, 2007, Robert D. Johnston, "An Ailing System: A Look at America's Health-Care Crisis and a Possible Cure," p. 9.

Columbia Journalism Review, July 1, 2007, Kevin Drum, "A Spoonful of Sugar: How to Explain the Health Care Crisis," p. 60.

Commentary, July 1, 2007, Yuval Levin, "Diagnosis & Cure," p. 80.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007, review of Sick, p. 108.

Library Journal, March 1, 2007, Dick Maxwell, review of Sick, p. 99.

Newsweek, April 16, 2007, Mary Carmichael, "It's a Chronic Condition; Our Current Health-Care Debate Is Rooted in the 1930s," p. 43.

New York Times Book Review, April 8, 2007, Sally Satel, review of Sick.

Publishers Weekly, January 22, 2007, review of Sick, p. 175.

Washington Monthly, May 2007, Phillip Longman, "Misdiagnosed: Why All the Money in the World Won't Fix What's Wrong with America's Health Care System," p. 59.

Washington Post Book World, April 1, 2007, review of Sick, p. 9; May 20, 2007, "What Ails Us," p. 7.


New Republic Web site, (September 14, 2007), brief biography of Jonathan Cohn.

Newsweek Online, (April 10, 2007), Mary Carmichael, "Healthy Reading: ‘Sick’ Examines U.S. Health Care."

Sick the Book, (September 14, 2007).