Summary: “When I was 13, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, and from that point on nearly all of my major life choices have been made with it in mind, including picking a college major that would result in a job with health insurance,” my friend Carly Medosch wrote on The Billfold a bit ago. “I’m the first person in my family to earn a college degree. I was a good student who took the advanced courses offered at my high school, but dealing with a chronic illness didn’t give me enough time or energy to reach the top of my class. I missed over 30 days of classes in one year, and the school district tried to force me into their home school program. … I fought this and was allowed to return to school and work with my teachers to make up my work. I made the decision to move out of my parents’ house for undergrad, but my choices were limited between two in-state schools due to financial and medical considerations. One school offered early admission, so I paid that single application fee and was accepted. … My college was a two-hour drive from home. … My middle class family wasn’t able to qualify for need-based programs, and my grades weren’t in the top percentage needed to win a lot of scholarships. I ended up taking on about $30,000 in student loans, which is an amount that is probably comparatively reasonable, but makes me want to barf when I think about it now. In high school I loved art and drama, but knew the life of a starving artist wasn’t compatible with a life of chronic illness. I needed a job with sick leave and health insurance, so I opted for a degree in graphic design.” Carly Medosch, “How a Chronically Ill Person Does Money,” The Billfold.
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.