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Washington overflows with an army of temps, free-lancers, and consultants who have one thing in common: a lack of information on health care options. In an effort to help the self-employed and the general public understand the present health care quagmire, Families USA Foundation has compiled Health Care Choices in the Washington Area (226 pp., $10.95, paper), a companion volume to its nationally oriented Health Care Choices for Today’s Consumer. Phyliss Torda, director of health policy at Families USA, explains, “From the consumer’s point of view, health care is a jungle….It is important that people know all the different places to go.” This competent sourcebook presents the alternatives—complete with addresses, phone numbers, and brief descriptions—and mercifully spares readers from wading through promotional propaganda. Health plans and hospitals in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia are surveyed; customer-satisfaction statistics compiled; and names of watchdog groups provided. One of the best sets of data included in Washington Area is a breakdown of rates for several dental and optometry services in the metro area—so you won’t get charged an arm and a leg.