Public Hostage, Public Ransom


Ending Institutional America

This political bombshell unveils the secrets of unspeakable crimes against our country’s most vulnerable citizens, making this one of the most suppressed crime stories in American history. 

The ever-present and increasing barbarity of our existing corporate and privatized medical market system must be replaced by a true population-based healthcare system, a single-payer system; that is the heart of Dr. Bronston’s opening and closing chapters in his formidable and meticulously researched exposé about one of the most shocking atrocities of the last century.

Within these pages, official lies are witheringly demolished and the stark truth, however disturbing, begins to take shape. Most explosively, some of the highest levels of New York State government were involved. Public Hostage, Public Ransom: Ending Institutional America is a must-read for anyone who cares about changing bureaucratic evil and ubiquitous violence that dominates within institutional Medicaid.

In this startling autobiographical story, William Bronston, the activist physician whose early professional California training steels him with a deep moral, professional, and cultural bond to the huge 6000-disabled-person population he encountered when he was the resident physician in Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, N.Y., and on whose behalf he daily battled to humanize and ultimately organize a winning Federal Class Action Lawsuit against the state to close the institution that caused thousands of premature, inevitable and horrifying deaths.

Willowbrook and the many other institutions across the country that warehoused people with disabilities are Medicaid-funded. Dr. Bronston posits that many people with disabilities are still “public hostages”, consigned again to profit-driven, segregated, and congregated institutional lives, funded by Medicaid’s billions, America’s “public ransom”. He draws a clear line to indict State bureaucracies and provides a strategic rationale to end Title 19 of the Social Security Act, the Medicaid system, to heal the deep societal wound that the segregated nursing-home and assisted-living industry enacts on people with disabilities and their families. He sees universal expanded and improved Medicare for all, single-payer health care, as the clear solution and ultimate antidote to this highly segregated system that exists now and that we shamelessly tolerate.

Prior to the exposé of Willowbrook, no small individualized community living arrangements existed across New York state in lieu of the 60 massive, Medicaid-funded institutions that incarcerated the ‘different’ population imposed on their stricken families. Willowbrook was closed to admission and families were blackmailed to have their dependent member submit to secret viral medical research with completely-unknown impact, although the results were rampant disease, gruesome sanitation, inadequate food, clothing, carloads of tranquilizing medicine, and the most minimal care and supervision manifesting into a brutal norm.

America has a documented history of enlightened politics that has transformed the lives of all people which reached a zenith in the late 1960s and 1970s leading to the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, the devalued and stigmatized populations of labelled people including Mental Retardation, Cerebral palsy, Autism, Epilepsy, Polio, sensory loss, neuromuscular degenerative conditions, still prevail.  Jabbing equally to the left and to the right wings, Dr. Bronston shows how both parties are now failing the test of a free and compassionate democracy, of a just government by and for all people. 

Public Hostages

Many of us as we age to become society’s elders are destined to be consigned to profit driven, segregated and congregate institutional lives funded by Medicaid’s billions. Thusly, an artificially created domestic “refuge” dependent population, torn from every community and devastating America’s families thereby becoming an accepted paradigm that Dr. Bronston’s story intimately charts and passionately indicts.

Solution to Course Correct

Calling on all concerned citizens and the civil and human rights community, Dr. Bronston urges us all to vigorously work to halt the institutionalized corporate greed of the pharmaceutical, hospital, and insurance empires. Universal expansion and improved Medicare for all, single-payer health care is the clear solution and ultimate antidote to this atrocity against humanity that we should no longer tolerate.

So, who is the man behind the stethoscope? Dr. Bronston’s gene pool is quite impressive: he is the great-nephew of the legendary Russian Marxist Leon Trotsky, and his father is the iconic film producer, Samuel Bronston—King of Kings(1963), El Cid (1962), and the Fall of the Roman Empire (1962), amongst many others. He belongs to the following organizations: Physicians for a National Health Program. World Interdependence Fund. Canadian Doctors for Medicare. Poor People’s Campaign. Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. American Medical Association Retirees.

Book Details


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *