publishing personal accounts of illness and healing, fostering a humanistic practice of medicine, encouraging health care advocacy

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Affordable Healthcare

  Years ago, I left a violent marriage in Colorado and returned to Iowa to start a new life. My health insurance was good until the end of the August, and coverage at my new job wouldn’t take effect until October. That’s the way things are, I was told. You’ll be fine.

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The Financial Assessment

  My Nicaraguan pediatrician friend astutely summarized her work: First you make the clinical assessment, then you make the financial assessment. In other words, a clinician may know the right treatment, but what good does that do the patient if the treatment is entirely out of reach financially?   In the clinic where I work, we don’t take insurance. It’s not a concierge practice but a church-based one, run on grants and hardscrabble for decades.

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Ben Franklin and Health Insurance

  Everyone looks confused when I begin my class lecture on private health insurance by showing a picture of Ben Franklin on the hundred-dollar bill and dedicating the lecture to him. Students seeking nurse practitioner degrees and doctor of nursing practice degrees alike have no idea why one of our Founding Fathers deserves this honor.

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Benefits and Burdens

When I retired from teaching in a suburban school district north of Detroit in June 2003, I left Michigan for my hometown of Pittsburgh with boxes of belongings, twenty-nine years of memories, and health insurance tied to my state pension. That insurance has served me well–except when it has not.

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