KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Paying Medical Expenses, Raising Hopes, Triggering Fears …

USA Today and Marketplace report on ways in which the cost of health care, especially regarding a serious illness, causes patient anxieties, challenges for the health system and new approaches within the marketplace.

USA Today: 'Crowdfunding' Sites Pay Medical Bills, Raise Medical Hopes
Nothing, that is, except try fundraising. More and more people are turning to crowdfunding sites such as the Human Tribe Project (humantribeproject.com), FundRazr (fundrazr.com), GoFundMe (gofundme.com), GiveForward (giveforward.com) and others to ask friends, and friends of friends, to consider making a donation, or, in the case of Human Tribe Project, purchasing a necklace or key chain, where the item's cost includes a donation. These can include situations such as fundraising for a loved one's cancer diagnosis, aftercare following an accident, fertility treatments or even replacing a pair of eyeglasses held together with duct tape (Alkon, 1/17).

Marketplace: Born On Inauguration Day: Health Care Hits Home
As a chaplain at Lurie Children's Hospital in downtown Chicago, Ashley-Anne Masters sees tangible evidence of one of the nation's most critical challenges every day at work. Masters says patient anxieties over access to health care transcend socioeconomic divides inside stark waiting rooms. "Every day I would see families who were terrified about how they could pay for their child's chemo," she says on a day off from the hospital, seated inside a coffee shop."At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what your job is or who the president is -- nobody can afford to have cancer." In 2010, the year President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the country's health expenditures topped $2.6 trillion. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that’s more than 10 times the $256 million spent in 1980, when Masters' mother was preparing for the arrival of her first and only child. The country spent roughly $1,110 per capita in 1980, a figure that skyrocketed to $8,402 in 2010 (Green, 1/17).

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