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The Patient, The Doctor and The Bill Collector: A Medical Debt Survival Guide Paperback – January 25, 2016
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We needed something to connect these dots into a bigger picture---and this book is it. In their book “The Patient, the Doctor and the Bill Collector”, Robert Goff and Jerry Ashton use the metaphor of the Scarecrow and the Tin Man—the struggle between head and heart.
The head part? Our health care system has to be financially sustainable. If hospitals or ERs close due to money problems or doctors leave the profession due to the same reason—the very people and facilities that we expect will be there to save the lives of our loved ones might be gone. And if these are gone---the “Golden Hour” when the most critical medical care needs have to be delivered to save lives might come and go with no one to help us.
The heart part? It seems like not a day goes by that I don’t see a “Go Fund Me” page posted for medical costs with sad stories about people losing their homes and unable to afford basic necessities---it’s heartbreaking, but it’s also not sustainable. We can’t have people depending on the kindness of strangers instead of being able to have the dignity of finding some way to pay their own medical bills.
This books calls for our country, our society to have a long, hard conversation about our health care “system” (and as Robert Goff writes in one of his chapters---it’s a stretch to call it a coherent system).
No one likes to think about getting sick or having a terrible accident---but if we don’t think about this and have this discussion, we stand to lose our health care facilities on which we depend on for our care or being incapacitated by debt for the rest of our lives. For a productive society to go forward, this is no way to proceed.
Buy this book. Read it carefully. Then, take action.
Bonnie Sheeren, Independent Patient Advocate, Houston Health Advocacy
The other concern that emerges from this trend towards networks is quality of treatment: can you get the specialist you need? Are they “in your network?” Obamacare is wildly unlike the old days of broad PPO insurance – don’t count on it covering you if you need to go to the Mayo Clinic!
The authors don’t put forth any magic-wand solutions to healthcare in America – we all know that single-payer insurance like that in Europe is needed – but until this still-broken system is fixed, the book does give you enough knowledge to try to guard yourself against the two pitfalls of Obamacare:
1. Try to avoid unnecessarily going out of your network for medical care and incurring personal debt.
2. Be aggressive about getting the best doctors, hospitals, and specialists that you can within your network.
Nicholas Carroll, consumer advocate and author of The Layoff Survival Plan, Dancing with Lawyers: How to Take Charge and Get Results, and Fighting Slander.
Read the book and SUPPORT the cause.