EP 450 Why Would a Doctor Talk to a Patient About Money?

  In medicine it is said that you only find what you’re looking for.  If you do not dig deep to find out whether, say, drinking was at the root of a medical condition, you may never know.  And the problem goes unsolved.  Money is the same way.  In a society where safety nets are scarce, startling numbers live in conditions you and I would find intolerable and trade-offs often result in short cutting better health outcomes, few doctors ever raise the issue of money with their patients.  Yet it is the cause of much stress, sleeplessness, poor diets and the delaying of necessary medical interventions.  Dr. Michael Stein is an exception.  As a primary care physician and professor of health law, policy and management, he makes it a point to find out what role money might play in his patients’ lives.  In his readable book, ‘Broke’, he lets his patients tell you what limitations their budget places on their health choices, while he reminds us that ‘America is money.  America is an invoice’.  If you cannot pay it, well you may end up sick out of luck.  He’ll explain.