In memory

end of life crossFarewell to a beloved husband and father

Today I am in Idaho attending the memorial service of my father-in-law.

He passed away two weeks ago at the age of 85, after suffering for several years from declining health and increasing dementia. His wife of 59 years and all four of his children were at his bedside when he died.

Death is not pretty, but neither is childbirth. Both involve pain, fear and uncertainty. And hope. Hope that mother and baby are healthy at the end of the ordeal. Hope that the dying one finds peace and an end to physical … Continue reading

Medicare publishes health care costs

It’s no surprise to anyone in the health care industry, but Medicare just released a report that shows the incredible variation of health care costs across the country.

Many patients are unaware of these price differences because, as I’ve posted about before, it’s nearly impossible for health care consumers to get information about the cost of a procedure before having the procedure done.

Coming so soon after Stephen Brill’s brilliant (yet depressing) Time magazine article, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us, the numbers presented in the report will hopefully provoke consumers to demand more fairness and … Continue reading

The high costs of medical mistakes

I mentioned in a previous post that three years ago my husband almost died from a series of medical, um, misjudgments, let’s say. I know sometimes things go wrong for no reason, but I also know his three-day ICU stay could have been prevented.

He never received a “mea culpa” from the doctors or hospital; all we got were the medical bills. Our insurance, a catastrophic/health savings account (HSA) plan, paid 100% of the costs after we met our deductible and out-of-pocket maximum ($10,000). At that point we stopped receiving bills, so I don’t know the exact total of … Continue reading

Medicare: No longer the light at the end of the health care tunnel

During the presidential campaign last year, Paul Ryan, the vice-presidential candidate, presented his plan for what we all know is much-needed Medicare reform (too many baby boomers; too little money). Under his plan, seniors would choose a  “Medicare certified” private health insurance plan and, depending on the senior’s income, a percentage of the premium would be subsidized.

His plan sounds a lot like the new health insurance exchanges that are set to begin in 2014, doesn’t it?

Yesterday, an article on the National Review Online caught my attention because the author presented a compelling scenario by which the government could … Continue reading