When Dr. Browne’s partner retires, his practice is taken over by Dr. Forbes Q. Hazzig, who becomes a zealot for a ‘managed care revolution’ of ‘marketplace medicine.’ Browne and his associate Dr. Kennes receive irrational, discordant information from healthcare experts, consultants and economists. Browne learns that rhetoric of a mass movement must be as erroneous as possible promising a vague, glorious future. Hazzig grows immensely rich and gains enormous power relying on intimidation and coercion.
Joanna Browne’s exhibition of J.M.W. Turner becomes a thrilling success, yet Hazzig’s wife succeeds in eliminating Joanna’s position at East Valley Museum of Art. Joanna must accept a position at a distant university; her absence devastates Browne.
Browne and Kennes discover managed care was based on a Washington bureau hoax, the ‘health maintenance strategy’ of 1973: an irrational mass movement, a mass hysteria. Hazzig plots to humiliate and ruin the two doctors; each threat goes awry. Hazzig is discredited; his illusory wealth collapses.
Reunited with Joanna, Dr. Browne receives a disturbing invitation to return to East Valley to be recognized with Dr. Kennes for their efforts to expose the folly of managed care. Browne is reluctant to relive his lonely, troubled, distressed past.