Blog Post: Asking About Costs Is Not Enough

In a recent piece in the New York Times (“Can You Afford Your Medicine? Doctors Don’t Ask”), Allison Bond – a medical student in Boston – poignantly tells the heartbreaking stories of patients who lack the money to afford copayments for prescriptions or doctors visits.  She describes, for instance, a mother and two daughters – recent immigrants from East Asia – who she meets at an appointment with their pediatrician.  The children have signs of growth retardation from malnutrition, evidence of the family’s poverty.  When the mother is told of the $20 copayment, she breaks into tears, knowing she will be unable to afford a return visit.

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Salon: A pro- single payer doctor’s concerns about Obamacare

As a single-payer advocate who is also a doctor, I was concerned after the Affordable Care Act was passed that it didn’t do enough to combat rising underinsurance. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund, which used new data to demonstrate that in 2012 some 31.7 million Americans were underinsured (i.e. insured, but still with heavy additional out-of-pocket health care expenses), argued that the burden of underinsurance will likely lessen as the ACA fully unfolds. But is there really reason for such optimism?  See the article here in Salon.

Truthout: Of Patients and Prices

There are many good reasons to impatiently anticipate the end of one’s medical training, which not infrequently lasts upwards of five years following medical school. But counterpoised to the oft-cited benefits – greater autonomy, reliably increased remuneration, less reliably improved hours, and so forth – there is also, unfortunately, an almost entirely unrecognized drawback: a largely unavoidable entanglement in the business of health care … Read the article at Truthout here.

 

Salon: The Right’s Healthcare Revolution is a Scam

“The consumer-driven healthcare revolution,” trumpeted one conservative think tank a few years back, “has only just begun.”  Now, for anyone who has ever been inconvenienced by an encounter with the healthcare system – or even worse, been on the receiving end of poor quality care, a medical error or a misdiagnosis – a greater focus on “consumer” satisfaction might sound like just the right medicine for American healthcare …

Read the article on Salon here.

In These Times: Underinsured in the Age of Obamacare

During the second presidential debate of 2008, Tom Brokaw asked Barack Obama and John McCain: “Is healthcare in America a privilege, a right or a responsibility?”  Obama, unlike McCain, did not hesitate to respond plainly that healthcare “should be a right for every American.” He proceeded to make healthcare reform a major goal of his presidency…

Read this article in the July 2013 issue of In These Times.