Why do people have to think about the cost of health care?
What would happen if you couldn’t afford the test that might diagnose the illness that would kill you?
What if you didn’t know what would save your life, because you couldn’t pay for a doctor visit or a routine diagnostic test?
That’s the medical care marketplace we have built, and it’s time to look that system in the face.
Why we’re talking about this now:
Go immediately to read Xeni Jardin’s livetweeting account of her mammogram and subsequent biopsy. It’s achingly beautiful and simultaneously terrifying. Then think of what might happened if she hadn’t had a mammogram.
Jardin, a self-described “tech culture journalist and Internet explorer,” writes :
“I have breast cancer. A week ago, I had breast cancer, and the week before that, and the week before that. Maybe five, eight, even ten years ago, the first bad cell split inside me, secretly. But I didn’t know. This is how I arrived at knowing.
“Two friends of mine were recently diagnosed. When news of the first came, I felt sadness. When news of the second came a few weeks ago, I felt a different kind of shock. I’d never had a mammogram. Even though I was ten years younger than the time they say you need to start, it felt like time to start, and when her news came I thought: I need to do this right now. For my friends, for me. Solidarity. Something small I can do, some little action against the big unknowable that swoops down without warning and strikes the ones we love.”
As a result of her mammogram and diagnosis, she’s under treatment–and eating kale.
Even though she’s anxious and worried, she’s worried about women who can’t have mammograms because they can’t afford them. So she’s rallying the troops: @maxogden, and @digiphile, and a host of others — to help put out the word: you should have a mammogram. If you think you can’t afford it, go here — it’s a New York City resource for mammogram pricing. We’re working to find other resources. If you know something, tweet to us.
And then go tweet: @xeni #breastcancer.
Be healthy. Find answers. Be well.
Let us know. We’ll find a way to help.
The health-care marketplace can be scary. We’re here to make it less scary. Let us know if there’s something you need to know.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.