Millions of Americans are still filing for bankruptcy because of medical debt, even though they have insurance. In 2015, families could be on the hook for 13,200 in out-of-pocket expenses before their coverage kicks in. That's far more than many household budgets will allow.
Importantly, in an era where patients see an ever-increasing number of non-physician providers, it is likely that young doctors will require a much more conscious effort to maintain a sense of personal responsibility for the health and well-being of the patients they care for.
For most people family relationships are the most challenging in our lives, so it's not surprising that if we are in a place of profound loss and vulnerability then spending time with family members at Christmas may trigger some complex emotional responses.
There was a time when I ran a 10K race with the Mayor of Yelapa, Cuba. As we headed uphill on the only asphalt road going into and out of town, we were passed by a group of teenage girls running barefoot.
People with disabilities can use more programs like PATF's that prepare them for life and the workforce Passage of the ABLE Act is a movement in the right direction, as could be adjustments to IDAs and other anti-poverty programs that permit people with disabilities to participate in them on their way to greater independence.
Ask a person about Appalachia, and their answer will likely amaze you. Outsiders may grimace, telling you about poverty and economic depression, an unhealthy affinity for coal, lack of education, and so on. Insiders, though, might tell you about the close-knit community, respect for the land, rich cultural heritage, and a passion for the place and its people.
In a startling study, Dr. Gewirtz at Cornell University showed that the weight of mice could be changed by over 15 percent just by shifting their intestinal bacteria. Along with weight changes, the bacteria present changed the mice's chemistry in ways that could predict heart disease, high blood pressure and risks for diabetes.
The current Ebola outbreak underscores that pathogens remain clear and present dangers to humanity, economic development, and national security in an interconnected 21st century world, and we must remain vigilant against them.
As 2014 comes to a close, we look ahead to 2015 with great anticipation and a multitude of opportunities to disrupt aging. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid and the Older Americans Act. It also is the 80th anniversary of Social Security.
I am a clinician by profession, caring for a population of over 30,000 in the 25 villages that my health center serves. I am the only clinician at the health facility, assisted by a single nurse when possible.
Clearly there are some health care startups that will meaningfully improve health care. But there is justifiable concern that too many are focused on the wrong patients and wrong problems using technology with limited applicability.
Two myths that caused great confusion over the last several years are now headed to the trash bin of history. Unfortunately, many of our great national myths have survived 2014.
Whether the Green Mountain State keeps moving forward with its goal of achieving universal coverage while also reducing the growth of health care spending depends largely on how the state's residents and businesses react to what Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has in mind.
This year, young LGBTQ adults who still lack health insurance have another chance to sign up and reap the benefits of coverage. Some of those benefits include free HIV screenings, depression screenings, well-woman visits and preventive services such as pap tests and mammograms.
Just as a patient with a weak immune system is more susceptible to disease, the Ebola crisis reminds us that a nation with a weak health system is more susceptible to epidemics.
We now must shift our focus from reaction and responding to planning and preparing. Only then will our health investments lead to real gains in the health of all people regardless of their income or nationality.