BUSINESS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Doctor Offers His Own Health Care For $49 A Month, $5 A Visit

As part of its Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up a few of the best local stories of the day.

In Utah, Dr. Rachot Vacharothone is confronting health care head-on by offering his own basic medical coverage, reports Carrie Moore of the Deseret News in an installment of the paper's health care reform series. He started a basic and urgent care program that costs $49 per month and $5 per visit. The plan covers basic treatment and diagnosis for infections and minor illnesses, as well as annual health screenings, infant care, and treatment for asthma and diabetes.

Simple ailments like those, says Dr. Vacharothone, are cheap to treat. "Basic care medicine doesn't involve specialized procedures," he said, just simple tools. "My hope is to set an example," he continued. "This is a solution to basic medical care provisions." The program started advertising in September, and in just a month his After Hours Care clinic has enrolled almost 400 people.

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Miguel Corrales, 59, was at his wife's side in a nursing home the night before she passed away last week, reports Mike Cassidy of the Mercury News. Corrales, a beloved hot dog vendor in San Jose, Calif., who is affectionately known as Uncle Mike, is now about to lose his home. The state Medicaid program covered some of the bills for his wife's treatment, but not everything, and Corrales said he starting falling behind on his mortgage bills.

Bill Carlson, a fellow hot dog vendor, has set up the Corrales Family Memorial Fund to help out. Donations can be made any any Santa Clara County Wells Fargo branch location.

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In Palmdale, Calif., Brian Watt of KPCC highlights the story of Cesar Hernandez, who was laid off in November from his construction job. Since then he has been unable to find anything new, and his mortgage company refused to refinance his mortgage. Hernandez and his family are being kicked out of their home.

The Hernandez home, worth $235,000 when purchased, dropped in value by over half as the housing economy has crumbled. Lauren Willis, a professor at Loyola Law School who monitors housing rates, called Hernandez part of the next wave of foreclosure victims: "people who are unemployed and are unable to make their payments even on a plain vanilla 30-year fixed mortgage."

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Bryon Carlson and his fiancee, Rosa Garcia, lost their jobs on the same day in February, reports Kevin Craver of the Northwest Herald. The Woodstock, Ill. couple was then kicked out of their home along with their two daughters -- the youngest of whom is barely six weeks old.

The family of four is now living in a motel, thanks to the McHenry County Housing Authority, which pays for their stay for up to eight weeks. Carlson is still working one part-time job, but that's not enough. And just the day after they came to the hotel, he said, he noticed a familiar car in the parking lot: an old coworker who was also laid off, and who is also now homeless. "It can happen to anyone," remarked Carlson.

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Paul Adley of Kentucky's KY3 News reports of a growing trend of local residents selling their burial plots. "Why should I spend $6,000 on a funeral that I could leave to my kids, or I could pay medical bills. And, in this economy, dollars count even more. They really add up," said one retired grade school teacher who chose not to be identified out of shame.

HuffPost readers: Seen a good local story? Heard about a heroic judge, neighbor, or doctor helping people stay in their homes? Tell us about it! Email jmhattem@gmail.com.