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This week’s cover story marks the culmination of Steve Brill’s extraordinary journey through the landscape of American health care. He first launched this expedition for the 2013 story that became one of our best-selling covers, “Bitter Pill,” a riveting and often infuriating autopsy of hospital costs. In subsequent stories, he explored the terrain as a reporter–but took a harrowing detour as a patient, winding up in New York–Presbyterian Hospital for open-heart surgery to correct a potentially deadly aneurysm.