Need Health Insurance?

Do you or your family member need to buy health insurance? As you know, the Obamacare is being implemented, and one new element is the insurance market exchange. People without insurance now have the ability to shop for insurance through these exchanges and depending on how much you make, you may qualify for subsidies on your insurance premium.

If you live in California, this is the insurance exchange for California that can walk you through the process:  There’s a lot of good infomation on that site as well so if you are in need of insurance, or you know someone who does, take some time to go over it. There’s a calculator that will give you an estimate of your premiums based on your household size and income. Please share!

By the way, Amazon finally has the book in stock, woot!


Medical Injustice

If you didn’t know, the new health insurance market opened last week as a means to increase access to care amongst the uninsured. If you would like a brief overview of Obamacare, read this previous post. Hopefully the computer glitches will be smoothed out soon and people can be enrolled into health insurance plans.

All politics aside, I am happy as a primary care provider working with the underserved that more people will have access to basic care. Early detection and regular care can potentially prevent the chronic diseases that burden the healthcare system today, e.g., diabetes, heart disease, stroke.

But unfortunately, the scope of the new healthcare reform will not be as vast as previously thought. This was a pretty sad article to read from CNN talking about the gaps in coverage under the new plan. The Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) had the provision that each state has the choice of expanding the programs that would help provide coverage for the poor.

Sadly, half the states have opted out of the program, and hence the uninsured living in those states will not receive any aid in purchasing health insurance. The article estimates there are some seven million working people who make too much to qualify for existing state aid programs, but not enough to receive subsidies under obamacare to purchase insurance.

Millions of people unable to get care that they need. Sad as that is, numbers are just statistics. Maybe a story will be more helpful. Here’s an excerpt from my book:

I was working in the ER one time and this guy came in for abdominal pain. I did the standard history, getting all the gory details. Then I went to do an exam. Heart sounds were good, no murmurs. Lungs, pretty clear. Abdomen feels okay … wait, I feel a mass? Is this stool in his intestines? So I follow it and it’s no stool. It goes down into his pants and there I find that his scrotum is the size of a grapefruit. I hope he didn’t see me go bug-eyed.

I asked him how long he’s had this and he told me four months. Four months? Are you kidding me? I asked him why he didn’t come in earlier. He simply shrugged. I found out later he had a cancer of his testicle and it had spread all the way into his belly.

We might find that story incredulous. Why did he wait that long to come in? You would think if your scrotum was the size of a tennis ball that would raise some red flags…

To give my patient credit, he was uninsured and didn’t have access to regular medical care. If I was faced with a decision to fork up money to see a doctor or put food on the table, I wouldn’t go to the doctor either. That breaks my heart. This is just one small example of the injustices that exist in our medical system…

Worth the Cost?: Becoming a Doctor Without Forfeiting Your Soul

One charge God had against the the Israel nation was that they failed to care for the poor and needy in the land. I can’t imagine God being happy with the state of healthcare, even with the new changes. I’m still wrestling with how the church (and the individual Christian) is to respond to this need, but I do my best using medicine to carry out God’s heart for the poor. If you have thoughts, feel free to share!

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Book Ordering Info:


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Obamacare Overview

In case you didn’t know, some big changes are coming soon as a result of the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) that was passed in 2010 and subsequently upheld. Some things have been implemented, but much of it will be rolled out through 2020. This is one massive bill, and unfortunately pretty hard to understand, even by people in the medical field. I came across this video recently that gave a helpful overview so I’d thought I would share. Enjoy!

As one who sees mostly patients without insurance or are underinsured (and see firsthand the consequenes of a lack of preventative care), I’m happy about the expanded coverage. But, according to the video, dropping the number of uninsured people from 50 million people to 30 million, while significant, still leaves a huge chunk of people without access to care. I guess only time will tell how things will turn out and whether or not this will actually cut healthcare costs and promote better health.

The core issue I think is whether or not healthcare is a right or a privilege. Should healthcare only be available to those who can afford it, or is it a basic human right that everyone should have access to. It’s interesting that although as Christians we have a future hope as eternal beings, the God of the Bible cares very much about people’s physical well-being on this earth.

Passages like Isaiah 58 make pretty clear that God cares for those who are hungry, naked, and without shelter, and expects His people Israel to care as well. One of the things backing up Jesus’ claim of being the Messiah was that He went around healing the sick. Somehow, physical health is one aspect of the perfect peace that exists in God’s eternal kingdom.

Just as God was displeased by the lack of care Israel had for those in need, I can’t imagine God being okay with people suffering from preventable diseases because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Anyway, just some food for thought. No posts for the next week, will be gone for a church retreat!